KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Perspectives: On Obamacare, Is Trump ‘Throwing In The Towel’ Or Using ‘Bureaucratic Sabotage’?

Editorial writers take on a variety of health policy issues, ranging from what's next for the Affordable Care Act, to whether bipartisan reforms are possible and even who is really to blame.

The Washington Post: Are Trump And Republicans Finally Throwing In The Towel On Obamacare?
The single biggest win that President Trump has scored for his economically struggling supporters thus far is his failure to repeal Obamacare. This fact is sitting right at the center of one of the biggest and most-discussed stories in Washington right now — the possibility that Trump may be in the midst of rethinking his approach, and pivoting toward a more sustained effort to make bipartisan deals with Democrats — yet the centrality of it is largely passing unnoticed. (Greg Sargent, 9/8)

USA Today: Trump Shows GOP How It's Done: Scrap Absolutism, Deal With Reality
Turns out as well that repealing the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, is not popular either — especially when the Congressional Budget Office has found that every variation on a replacement would cost people more, take away consumer protections, and insure far fewer — up to 24 million fewer in one case. Those protesting repeal at town meetings included conservatives and Trump voters as well as liberal Democrats. Those seeking a bipartisan compromise to stabilize markets and improve the law include more than a few Republican senators and governors. Those trying to get Congress to abandon repeal and move on include … Trump. At least as of Friday. (Jill Lawrence, 9/10)

The Washington Post: Obamacare Doesn’t Deserve A Bailout
Those who cheered for Senate Republicans to fail have been celebrating ever since, and we’re now hearing calls for bipartisan solutions. While most reasonable people would welcome a bipartisan outcome to this mess, the solutions proffered thus far would do little more than shore up the bad policies already in place with another slate of bad policies. We need legitimate, long-term reforms. (Sen. Orrin Hatch, 9/8)

Sacramento Bee: Is Bipartisan Health Reform Possible?
As a doctor, I know many Americans are concerned about the future of health care. Nobody should have to worry that an unexpected medical bill could threaten their family’s financial security. ... As Congress returns from summer recess, we have a clear decision to make: Can we work together to fix health care? ... But in order for Congress to make improvements, both sides need to honestly discuss the law’s shortcomings. (Rep. Ami Bera, 9/8)

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Trump Administration Tries Bureaucratic Sabotage To Kill Obamacare
While attention was focused last week on President Donald Trump’s move to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, his administration was moving to sabotage another, much-larger Obama-era achievement: the Affordable Care Act. The Department of Health and Human Services is cutting the budget for outreach programs intended to help Americans sign up for health insurance coverage in 2018. In addition, HHS has cut the sign-up period that begins Nov. 1 from 90 to 45 days. (9/10)

The Washington Post: The ‘Progressives’ Are To Blame, Too, For Mismanaging Our Government
As I have written countless times, the semi-automatic expansion of programs for the elderly (mainly Social Security, Medicare and long-term care under Medicaid) is slowly crowding out many other government programs, from defense to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The paradoxical result is that government spending will grow larger even while it grows less effective. The conventional wisdom in Washington is that the Republicans are responsible for this mess. Their fixation with sizable tax cuts leaves government perpetually dependent on massive borrowing. There is much truth to this. ... The other half is the refusal of Democrats — “liberals” and “progressives” — to cut almost any Social Security and Medicare benefits. They’re essentially off-limits, even though life expectancy has increased and many elderly are well-off. (Robert J. Samuelson, 9/10)

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