KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

House GOP Lambasts Senate Republicans For Caving On Obamacare

The showdown over the health law that some expected would unify the party has turned into a war of words between House and Senate colleagues. Meanwhile, Politico reports that while most people are focused on the threat of a government shutdown, the bigger threat is a U.S. debt default.

The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: House-Senate GOP War of Words On Obamacare Bill
House GOP leaders thought they'd found the ticket to party unity Wednesday when they announced a bill to keep the government operating in the new fiscal year and strip funding from President Barack Obama’s health-care law. They hoped to rally the party behind the cause of tea party allies, who had made "defunding Obamacare" their litmus test issue. But the move has provoked a remarkable war of words — or at least of tweets — between House and Senate Republicans (Hook, 9/18).

Fox News: House Republicans Accuse Senate Colleagues Of Caving On Push To Defund Obamacare
House Republicans, in an unusually caustic intra-party squabble, are ripping their conservative colleagues in the Senate for what they see as an abrupt cave-in on the push to defund ObamaCare. “They're waving the white flag already," one House GOP lawmaker said Wednesday. The squabble started after House Speaker John Boehner earlier in the day announced he would agree to the demands of Tea Party-aligned lawmakers to tie a vote on defunding the health care law to a vote on a must-pass budget bill. The move would effectively condition the approval of the spending bill on ObamaCare being de-funded, or else risk a government shutdown when funding runs out at the end of the month (9/19).

The Fiscal Times: Gov’t Shutdown: The GOP’s Last Stand On Obamacare
Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the newly minted White House budget director, was among the few administration officials bullish that President Obama and congressional Republicans could somehow overcome their differences and negotiate a budget deal before a Sept. 30 deadline. Last month, she told skeptical reporters that “We shouldn’t all just accept that, ‘Oh, nothing can get done.’ That’s just not true." That was then. As Obama was telling business leaders yesterday that he would refuse to give in to Republican blackmail over the debt ceiling and the future of the Affordable Care Act, Burwell issued a detailed memorandum instructing department and agency heads to prepare for the possibility of a government shutdown at the end of the month (Planin and Ehley, 9/19).

Politico: Shutdown Sparring A Warm-Up For Debt Fight
Everyone in Washington and on Wall Street is fixated on the potential for a government shutdown in less than two weeks. But those in power and closest to the situation say a debt default is a bigger threat. That’s the thinking at the highest levels of Congress as Washington dives headfirst into a contentious fall. Here’s the reality: Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will eventually have to bring a funding bill to the House floor that keeps the government — and Obamacare — running. That’s the bill the House will most likely receive from the Senate shortly after Boehner’s chamber resumes work on Wednesday, just days short of an Oct. 1 government shutdown (Sherman, Bresnahan, 9/19).

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