KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Increasingly Wary Senators Warn Bill Won’t Pass Without Changes

The problems lawmakers have with the legislation include the potential loss of insurance coverage, changes to Medicaid, the trajectory of premium prices and the bill’s impact on costs paid by older, low-income and rural Americans.

The New York Times: G.O.P. Senators Suggest Changes For Health Care Bill Offered By House
A day after a harsh judgment by the Congressional Budget Office on the House plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, nervous Senate Republicans on Tuesday suggested changes to the bill. They told Trump administration officials — including the health secretary, Tom Price — that they wanted to see lower insurance costs for poorer, older Americans and an increase in funding for states with high populations of hard-to-insure people. (Steinhauer and Kaplan, 3/14)

The Wall Street Journal: GOP Senators Say House Health Bill Won’t Pass Without Changes
Republican senators, alarmed by a nonpartisan report showing millions would lose insurance under the GOP health-care plan, warned Tuesday that the bill wouldn’t become law without fundamental changes. At least a dozen Republican senators, including some who had previously kept a low profile in the health debate, made clear they had concerns over the bill’s policy proposals, complicating House leaders’ hopes that the bill’s momentum would overpower internal GOP infighting over legislative details. (Peterson and Hackman and Radnofsky, 3/14)

Reuters: Republicans Weigh Health Bill Changes As Doubts Mount
The White House and congressional leaders said on Tuesday they were weighing changes to their plan to dismantle the Obamacare health law as Republicans' questions mounted following an estimate that it would cause 14 million Americans to lose insurance next year.Press Secretary Sean Spicer said White House officials and leaders in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives were considering whether to tweak their bill, which faces growing doubts within party ranks. (Heavey and Cornwell, 3/14)

The Hill: Pressure Mounts For Changes To ObamaCare Bill 
Yet any changes to the bill could further alienate moderate members who are worried about lost coverage and price spikes for lower-income and older people. Their fears were heightened by a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report, released Monday, that found the bill could result in 24 million people becoming uninsured over the next decade. (Sullivan, Hellmann and Wong, 3/14)

The Associated Press: Ryan’s Gambit: Second Health Care Bill To Woo The Reluctant
House Republicans are working on a companion to their bill replacing “Obamacare,” a legislative second act that would ease cross-state sale of health insurance and limit jury awards for pain and suffering in malpractice lawsuits. The problem: the so-called “sidecar” bill lacks the votes in the Senate. (Alonso-Zaldivar and Fram, 3/15)

The Hill: Ryan: Trump And I Working To 'Stick The Landing' On Healthcare Plan 
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Tuesday he had talked with President Trump about ensuring Republicans can "sick the landing" on their ObamaCare repeal-and-replacement proposal, the American Health Care Act. “We basically just talked about how we are executing, getting this done. We talked about dividing up labor, who does what and how do we make sure we just basically stick the landing and get it done,” Ryan told Fox News's Martha MacCallum of his Tuesday call with Trump. (Beavers, 3/14)

Roll Call: GOP Grapples With Path Forward For Health Care Plan
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is scheduled to be with President Donald Trump in Louisville, Kentucky, on Monday, said his chamber would bring up whatever legislation the House produces as its base bill. ... Some Republican senators are pushing for changes to be made in the House before the bill is sent to the Senate. “I’m doing all that I can to make the House bill as good as it can be,” said Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions chairman, who is scheduled to rally with Trump in Nashville on Wednesday. (Bowman, 3/14)

The Washington Post: There Are Now More Than 50 Republicans Skeptical Of The GOP’s Obamacare Replacement Bill
To get their version of an Obamacare replacement through Congress and onto President Trump's desk, Republican leaders need only a simple majority in both chambers to approve it. But that could be difficult. The magic number to pass the legislation in the House is 218, and in the Senate, 50. Republicans conceivably have enough lawmakers to get to those majorities, but not by much. Assuming no Democrats support the bill, Republicans can lose only 21 votes in the House and just two in the Senate. (Phillips, 3/14)

The Hill: Top GOP Senators Call For More Low-Income Help In Healthcare Bill 
Some top Senate Republicans are backing a change to the House ObamaCare replacement bill to increase financial assistance for low-income people to purchase health insurance. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a member of Senate GOP leadership, said Tuesday he is working on an amendment to increase the tax credits under the bill for low-income people. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Health Committee, and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), another Senate leader, said they support the idea as well. (Sullivan, 3/14)

CQ Roll Call: Senators Suggest House Overhaul Obamacare Replacement Bill
Senators are pressuring House Republicans to change legislation that would overhaul the 2010 health care law after a damning federal report showed millions would lose coverage and pay more under the plan. Several senators suggested the revisions might be made before the measure clears the House. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said he is currently "focusing on amending it while it's still in the House." (Mershon and Williams, 3/14)

The Hill: Top GOP Senator To Democrats: Offer Your Own Bill To Fix ObamaCare 
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said Tuesday that if Democrats don't like a House bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare, they should offer their own legislation.  "if you don't like this proposal, then what's your suggestion? What's your suggestion?" he asked during a weekly Senate GOP leadership news conference. (Carney, 3/14)

Politico: 5 Obamacare Mistakes The GOP Is Repeating
Republicans took careful notes about the mistakes Democrats made as they passed Obamacare in 2010 and exploited them relentlessly to undermine support for the law. Now that they’re trying to repeal the law, they are walking into some of the same traps. (Haberkorn, 3/14)

The Washington Post: In Wake Of CBO Analysis Of Health-Care Bill, Ryan-Aligned Group Launches TV Ads Seeking To Give GOP Lawmakers Cover
A group closely aligned with House Republican leaders is hitting the airwaves Tuesday with a new round of television ads defending 15 GOP lawmakers for moving to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, a $1.5 million investment that coincides with the release of a key congressional forecast predicting 24 million fewer people would have health insurance coverage over the next decade under the House GOP proposal. (Sullivan, 3/14)

The Washington Post: In Virginia, Three GOP Congressmen Line Up Against GOP Health Care Plan
Three of Virginia’s seven Republican members of Congress have come out against House Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s plan to revise the Affordable Care Act - and the other four have yet to take a position. The dissent, from two hard-line conservatives and one moderate, illustrates the challenge House leaders face in pushing a proposal that the Congressional Budget Office said would reduce the deficit, but also leave 24 million Americans uninsured. (Portnoy, 3/14)

Minnesota Public Radio: After CBO Report, Here's Where The MN Delegation Stands On Health Bill
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said Tuesday the Republican bill could cost the state "$2 billion in federal funds for Medicaid and MinnesotaCare within 18 months." The governor, a Democrat, added the cuts could affect more than a million children, seniors and people with disabilities. Congress' nonpartisan budget analysts released their findings Monday on the Republicans' bill to overhaul the nation's health care law. (Nelson, Lebens and Catlin, 3/14)

CQ Roll Call: House Budget Will Consider Motions On Obamacare Repeal
When the House Budget Committee marks up legislation on Thursday to partially repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, the rules of reconciliation will prevent any amendments. Nevertheless, the committee could have some influence over the measure through nonbinding motions aimed at the House Rules Committee...The latest repeal and replace proposal, written by the Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce committees, has drawn significant opposition from the conservative House Freedom Caucus, some of whose members sit on the Budget Committee. That suggests the path out of the panel could be more difficult this time around. (Krawzak, 3/15)

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