KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Secrecy And ‘Legislative Sleights-Of-Hand’: McConnell’s About-Face On Passing Health Bills

The Washington Post fact checks Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's positions on the process of passing a health care bill in 2010 versus now. And other media outlets take a look at how Republicans are struggling with the fact that the legislation is being crafted behind closed doors.

The Washington Post Fact Checker: Mitch McConnell On The Health-Care Legislative Process, 2010 Vs. 2017
It has become a regular feature of the U.S. political system that the politicians in the minority accuse the politicians in power of cutting deals behind closed doors to advance controversial legislation — only to engage in similar tactics once they regain power. This has become increasingly clear as Republicans in the Senate struggle to craft a health-care deal that will gain at least 50 votes, the bare minimum necessary under the legislative path — known as reconciliation — chosen by the GOP. (Kessler, 6/19)

The Hill: Senators Wrestle With Transparency In Healthcare Debate 
Both Republican and Democratic senators are expressing concerns over the lack of open process in the Senate's work on a revised ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill even as Republican leadership looks to move the bill to a vote as soon as possible. Many lawmakers have not yet laid eyes on the Senate version of the American Health Care Act, which was passed by the House in May, and have begun to raise concerns about potential issues with the bill. (Manchester, 6/18)

Kaiser Health News: Ear To The Door: 5 Things Being Weighed In Secret Health Bill Also Weigh It Down
Anyone following the debate over the “repeal and replace” of the Affordable Care Act knows the 13 Republican senators writing the bill are meeting behind closed doors. While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) continues to push for a vote before the July 4 Senate recess, Washington’s favorite parlor game has become guessing what is, or will be, in the Senate bill. Spoiler: No one knows what the final Senate bill will look like — not even those writing it. (Rovner, 6/16)

The Associated Press: GOP Senator Warns Against Rushed Vote On Health Care Bill
A Republican senator on Sunday warned against rushing a vote on a GOP bill to repeal and replace the nation's health care law, saying both parties deserve a chance to fully debate the bill and propose changes after it was drafted in secret. "The Senate is not a place where you can just cook up something behind closed doors and rush it for a vote," said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. "So the first step in this may be crafted among a small group of people, but then everyone's going to get to weigh in." (Yen, 6/18)

Politico: Rubio Cautions Against Rushing Health Care In Senate
Sen. Marco Rubio on Sunday cautioned against fashioning health care legislation "behind closed doors" in the Senate and rushing it to the floor for a vote. “The Senate is not a place where you can just cook up something behind closed doors and rush it for a vote on the floor,” the Florida Republican said on CBS' “Face the Nation.” (Trudo, 6/18)

Meanwhile, in related news —

The Washington Post: New Ad Campaign To Pressure Five GOP Senators To Vote Against Health-Care Overhaul
An organization that opposes the Republican effort to repeal and replace key parts of the Affordable Care Act is pressuring five GOP senators not to vote for the emerging legislation in a new $1.5 million ad campaign that begins Monday, officials with the group told The Washington Post. Community Catalyst Action Fund, which bills itself as a consumer health organization, is targeting Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Susan Collins (Maine), Dean Heller (Nev.) and Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) with television and radio ads urging them to vote no. (Sullivan, 6/18)

Nashville Tennessean: The American Health Care Act’s Winners And Losers In Tennessee
The Tennessee consumers who most stand to benefit from the AHCA are people who have individual health plans but make too much money to receive ACA subsidies.  Because of the double-digit premium increases over the last few years, the “sticker price” of ACA coverage can be hundreds or even thousands of dollars per month. More than 80 percent of ACA consumers receive subsidies to offset these costs, but some consumers do not. If you make more than 400 percent of the federal poverty line, you receive no assistance, and premiums have been unaffordable for many of these consumers. (Tolbert, 6/18)

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