KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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If All Else Fails, Republicans May Turn To ‘Skinny Plan’ As Last Resort

The plan would leave most of the law intact but would roll back the individual and employer mandates and its tax on medical devices.

The New York Times: ‘Skinny’ Obamacare Repeal Would Clash With Republicans’ Health Care Promises
If the current options for overhauling the health care system can’t get a majority of Senate votes, the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, has a new backup plan, according to senators and lobbyists: a simple bill that eliminates three of Obamacare’s least popular provisions. The plan, which has been nicknamed “skinny repeal,” would eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, the employer mandate and a tax on medical devices, at least for a few years. (Sanger-Katz, 7/25)

The Washington Post: ‘Skinny Repeal’ Could Be The Senate’s Health-Care Bill Of Last Resort
In substance, this plan would repeal just three parts of the ACA, according to several sources familiar with the approach. It would eliminate the requirement that most Americans carry health insurance as well as the requirement that employers with at least 50 full-time employees offer coverage to their workers. Both are central elements of the 2010 health-care law and its least popular aspects with the public. The “skinny” plan also would rescind the tax on medical devices, one of several taxes the ACA created to help pay for other elements of the law. A close variant of this surfaced two years ago in the House, as part of the GOP’s strategy back then to lower federal deficits. Congressional budget analysts estimated at the time that 15 million fewer Americans would have insurance coverage “most years” as a result. (Goldstein, 7/25)

Politico: McConnell's Fallback: A 'Skinny' ACA Repeal
The plan wouldn't touch Obamacare's Medicaid expansion, making it more palatable to Senate moderates. But it could trigger significant resistance by preserving the ACA's insurance regulations, which senators like Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky have insisted need to be struck down. "How do the ultra-conservatives vote for it?" asked one former Senate Republican aide. (Diamond, 7/25)

Denver Post: Obamacare's "Skinny Repeal" By The Senate Could Impact Colorado
There aren’t a lot of Colorado-specific numbers yet on the impacts of a repeal of the individual mandate, but there are two areas of concern in addition to rising costs. First, with more people uninsured, hospitals could be on the hook for providing more care that they don’t get paid for. That could threaten some hospitals’ ability to remain open. Second, if insurers are spooked by federal policy changes, they could bolt from the state as early as this year, leaving people shopping on their own for health insurance with fewer — or no — choices. (Ingold, 7/25)

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