KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Richest Americans Could See Millions In Tax Cuts If Health Law Is Repealed

Meanwhile, the move would raise taxes on about 7 million low-and-moderate income families. In other news, as the health care landscape is turned on its head, Nashville is at a crossroads on where to go next; states move to protect free contraception; religious leaders speak out against repeal; Washington state may offer a blueprint for congressional Republicans to follow; and more.

The Fiscal Times: Repealing Obamacare Taxes Gives The Super Wealthy $7 Million More A Year
Could President-elect Donald Trump and congressional Republicans make good on their pledge to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, the repeal of a handful of tax increases on individuals and businesses and the elimination of a federal tax credit that subsidizes health insurance premiums likely would result in a massive windfall for wealthy households and a financial setback for low and moderate-income people, according to a new study. Indeed, the 400 highest income taxpayers in the country could receive millions of dollars in tax relief next year while middle and lower income Americans would come up empty or in the hole, according to the report by the liberal-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. (Pianin, 1/12)

Nashville Tennessean: ACA Repeal: Nashville's Health Care Industry Faces A Defining Moment
Nashville isn't a health insurance town, and it's not a hotbed of federal politics. Much of its energy and economy come from its health care delivery companies, which care for tens of millions of Americans or collaborate with the companies that do. The renewed fervor about health policy reform puts the city's industry, which generates $73 billion in revenue annually, at a crossroads: It could either sit back and read the tea leaves while the ideology-driven debate over policy reforms rages in Washington. Or, area leaders say, Middle Tennessee's massive health care apparatus could work to find solutions, using the pragmatism and innovation that have been a hallmark of the fast-growing industry in recent years. (Fletcher, 1/12)

Cincinnati Enquirer: Local Clergy: 'Immoral' To Repeal Obamacare Without Substitute Ready
Local religious leaders, mourning the U.S. Senate’s action Thursday on the Affordable Care Act, called on local citizens to agitate against an “irresponsible” and “immoral” decision to repeal the health-care law without having a substitute plan ready to go. The Rev. Damon Lynch Jr., pastor of New Jerusalem Baptist Church in Carthage, scolded Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, for his vote in the early hours of Thursday to begin the ACA’s rollback. (Saker, 1/12)

Seattle Times: Dismantling Of State’s Health Reforms In 1993 May Offer Lessons For Obamacare Repeal
As congressional Republicans look to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), Washington’s experience with health-care reform in the 1990s offers an illustrative example of the possible consequences of repealing only the unpopular parts of a law designed with many interlocking pieces. What began as the most ambitious health-care overhaul in the nation was hacked away to the point where it became impossible to buy individual health insurance anywhere in the state. (Guttman, 1/12)

WBUR: Hospitals Fret Over Financial Impact Of Repealing Obamacare 
Senate Republicans are one step closer to repealing Obamacare. Early this morning they voted 51-48 to approve a budget blueprint that would let them repeal major parts of the law. There is no plan to replace the health care law yet, which is a concern for hospitals across the country. (Hobson, 1/12)

San Jose Mercury News: Obamacare's Architect: Five Points About Health Care Reform
In a wide-ranging conversation Wednesday night at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Obamacare’s main architect, talked about health care reform and the debate over President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which has helped insure at least 20 million more  Americans, including five million Californians. Emanuel is still a strongly advocate of the law, saying it has contributed to keeping U.S. health care costs more under control than at any time in the last 50 years. But like many other health care experts, he acknowledges room for improvement — and hopes it can now be done a bipartisan fashion. (Seipel, 1/12)

CQ HealthBeat: Court Stops Effort To Revive Obamacare Funding Lawsuit
Two people who got insurance through the 2010 health care law won’t be able to revive a legal fight between House Republicans and the Obama administration over appropriations for the law, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday. In a one-page order, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit declined a request from Gustavo Parker and La Trina Patton to intervene in the lawsuit. Parker and Patton asked to defend the continued payment of subsidies that go to approximately 5.9 million people in their situation, which is at the heart of the legal dispute. (Ruger, 1/12)

Kaiser Health News: As Obamacare Repeal Heats Up, Newly Insured North Carolinians Fret
Darlene Hawes lost her health insurance about a year after her husband died in 2012. Hawes, 55, is from Charlotte, N.C. She ended up going without insurance for a few years, but in 2015 she bought coverage on HealthCare.gov, the Affordable Care Act marketplace, with the help of a big subsidy. “I was born with heart trouble and I also had, in 2003, open-heart surgery,” she said. “I had breast-cancer surgery. I have a lot of medical conditions, so I needed insurance badly.” After the results of the 2016 election, she was scared she’d lose her insurance immediately. (Tomsic, 1/13)

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