KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Senator From Deep Red West Virginia Promises To Be Vote That Torpedoes Plan If Need Be

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito's state of West Virginia relies heavily on Medicaid funding and has been hard hit by the opioid epidemic, both issues which would face threats from the Republican health care bill. Other senators over the past few days have spoken about the proposed bill as well. Media outlets offer a look at where they stand.

The Associated Press: West Virginia's Capito In A Spot With GOP Health Care Bill
West Virginia has one of the country's lowest median incomes. It's home to some of the worst rates of drug overdose deaths, smoking, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and disabilities. Around 3 in 10 West Virginians are on Medicaid, making it the state most dependent on the health insurance program for the poor, disabled and nursing home residents. Capito says she cares deeply about health care but that changes and reforms to Medicaid are necessary. (Virtanen and Fram, 7/8)

The Associated Press: Sanders Urges West Virginian To Oppose GOP Health Plan
Sen. Bernie Sanders has ventured into a stronghold for President Donald Trump to urge West Virginia's Republican senator to resist efforts to repeal much of Barack Obama's health care law. Speaking to hundreds of supporters Sunday in Morgantown, Sanders said if GOP Sen. Shelley Moore Capito's opposes her party's health care bill, it would "make all of the difference" in derailing the legislation. (Schreiner, 7/9)

USA Today/Cincinnati Enquirer: Bernie Sanders: 'I Beg Senator McConnell To Listen' On Health Care
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders hoped to draw big crowds in Covington Sunday. More than 2,000 people showed up at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center, including the Covington Mayor, who introduced Sanders, I-VT.Sanders and the crowd wanted to send a message to Republicans, particularly Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in his home state. That message: Don't destroy the Affordable Care Act. (Wartman, 7/9)

The Washington Post: Ted Cruz Is Suddenly In The Hot Seat To Help Pass A Health-Care Bill
During a week most Republican senators spent in the political equivalent of the witness protection program, Sen. Ted Cruz willingly stood trial before his constituents all across this sprawling state over his push to repeal much of the Affordable Care Act. He debated a self-described “dirty liberal progressive.” He met a psychologist who told him that he and his colleagues were “scaring the living daylights” out of her. He encountered protesters in a border town, a conservative Dallas suburb and this liberal stronghold. (Sullivan, 7/9)

The Fiscal Times: Will Cruz’s Plan Be The ‘Game Changer’ In The Senate Health Care Stalemate?
[Ted] Cruz and [Mike] Lee have been working quietly behind the scenes for weeks to devise a proposal that would appease both conservatives and moderates. Essentially, it would allow insurers to sell cheap health care plans, largely shorn of Obamacare essential benefits like maternity care and mental health and substance abuse treatment, if they also sell at least one plan that provides all that coverage. (Pianin, 7/7)

Sacramento Bee: Sen. Feinstein Calls For Defeat Of Republican Health Care Bill
Sen. Dianne Feinstein issued a stinging rebuke Friday to the push by congressional Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare, condemning her GOP colleagues for advancing a health care bill she said was written in private “by 13 white men"... State health officials say it remains unclear how many Californians could potentially lose health coverage because the bill is still under negotiation, but early estimates show it could be as many as 5 million. (Hart, 7/7)

KQED: GOP Senate Leader Won’t Get Votes For Health Care Bill: Sen. Feinstein
Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Friday that she thinks the Democrats have the votes to permanently stop the Republican health care bill in the Senate, noting “we’re very close to defeating it.” The Republicans can stand to lose only two votes from their own party, and nine Republicans signaled their opposition before leaving Washington for the July 4 recess. (Hutson, 7/7)

KCUR: Moran Tells Kansas Crowd He’s Open To Supporting Revised GOP Health Bill 
U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran is opposed to a bill crafted in secret by Republican leaders to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. But speaking to an overflow crowd at a town hall meeting Thursday in northwest Kansas, Moran said he is open to supporting a revised version if GOP leaders can address his concerns...Among other things, Moran said he is concerned about the effect of nearly $800 billion in proposed Medicaid cuts on rural health care providers and Kansans with disabilities. And he said he doesn’t like how the bill treats Kansas and other states that have not expanded eligibility for their Medicaid programs. (Mclean, 7/7)

Des Moines Register: Voters Urge Grassley Not To Help Ram Partisan Health Care Bill Through Senate
Several voters here urged Sen. Chuck Grassley Friday to work with Democrats to pass a bipartisan health care bill instead of helping ram through the current Republican bill that would rein in Obamacare. “It seems like nothing can ever get done if you don’t listen to each other and work together,” Deb Egeland of Centerville told the Iowa Republican. “… I mean, both parties have intelligent people, good ideas. ”Egeland is a retired park ranger and a registered Democrat but considers herself politically independent. She was among about 25 people who attended the unadvertised meeting with the senator in a conference room at the Rathbun Regional Water Association headquarters. (Leys, 7/7)

Denver Post: Cory Gardner Returning To Senate After July 4 Recess Marked By Fireworks Over Health Care 
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner returns to Capitol Hill next week after a Fourth of July break in Colorado that was anything but a respite from the contentious debate over Republican plans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. Over the roughly week-long recess, Obamacare supporters ramped up their opposition with several ads and protests, including a Denver rally, a demonstration in Colorado Springs and a radio hit by AARP that specifically targeted Gardner, a Republican from Colorado (Matthews, 7/8)

Des Moines Register: In Iowa, Ben Sasse Says GOP Must Repeal Now, Replace Later If Obamacare Bill Fails
If the health care bill currently before the U.S. Senate fails, lawmakers should immediately repeal the existing law known as Obamacare and then get to work crafting a replacement, U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse told a Republican crowd here on Friday. The Nebraska Republican’s comments, delivered at a Story County GOP fundraiser, represent a rejoinder to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who suggested this week that if the bill currently under consideration dies the party may have to negotiate with Democrats on fixes to the existing law rather than a wholesale overhaul. (Noble, 7/7)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.