KHN Morning Briefing

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Senators Find Themselves Playing Whac-A-Mole When It Comes To Solving Health Plan Problems

Every time they think they've found a solution to an issue, a new one pops up. And while moderates say they're getting closer, conservatives are pushing back against the proposed changes.

Politico: Senate GOP Finds A New Problem For Every One Resolved On Obamacare Repeal
Senate Republicans hoping to get the bulk of an Obamacare repeal bill done within the next few days keep finding a new problem for every old one they get closer to resolving. A burst of optimism that they could agree on a more generous version of the House-passed repeal bill was quickly doused by concerns over the cost. An emerging consensus on subsidies to stabilize shaky insurance markets was countered by a threat that crucial abortion restrictions could derail the effort altogether. And looming over it all, lawmakers are still struggling to bridge the deep divide over the future of Medicaid. (Cancryn, Haberkorn, Everett and Pradhan, 6/8)

The Washington Post: Senate Republicans Consider Keeping Parts Of Obamacare They Once Promised To Kill
In their effort to revamp the nation’s health-care system, Senate Republicans are considering preserving or more gradually eliminating key elements of the Affordable Care Act that the House voted to discard, creating an uncomfortable political situation for the party after years of promises to fully repeal the law. Senate GOP leadership told rank-and-file Republican senators during private talks this week that they favor keeping guaranteed protections for people with preexisting medical conditions — a departure from the House approach of allowing states to opt out of a regulation ensuring such individuals are not charged more for coverage. (Sullivan and Snell, 6/8)

Roll Call: Senate Moderates Say They Are Closer On Health Care
Moderate Republicans on Thursday said they were getting closer to supporting an emerging Senate health package but are continuing to press for a slower phaseout of the Medicaid expansion than the House-passed bill set out. The Medicaid expansion question seems to remain the biggest unresolved issue as Republicans try to finalize a bill they can vote on before the end of June. To meet their timeline, they would have to send a bill to the Congressional Budget Office for a cost estimate by early next week, according to a Republican aide. (Siddons and Raman, 6/9)

The Hill: Conservatives Push Back On Senate Changes To Health Bill 
Conservatives are pushing back strongly against the Senate’s proposed changes to the House healthcare reform bill, fearing the legislation is moving in the wrong direction. Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) — some of the chamber’s more centrist members — have proposed gradually phasing out extra federal funds for Medicaid over seven years, beginning in 2020. That is longer than a House GOP leadership proposal to eliminate Medicaid expansion funding by 2023. (Sullivan and Roubein, 6/8)

The Hill: Sen. Heller Supports Seven-Year Phase-Out Of Medicaid Expansion Funds 
Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), a key GOP senator on healthcare who is up for reelection next year, said Thursday that he supports a seven-year phase-out of funding for ObamaCare’s expansion of Medicaid. ... Heller’s comments indicate that he is willing to end the extra federal funding for Medicaid expansion, as long as it is on a slow enough timetable. His comments, and those of other more centrist GOP senators, could indicate that Republicans can find some compromise on the Medicaid issue, one of their biggest obstacles to passing an ObamaCare repeal bill. (Sullivan, 6/8)

The Hill: Senate GOP Paves Way For ObamaCare Repeal Bill
Senate Republicans are paving the way for legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) fast-tracked the House bill on Thursday, placing it on the Senate calendar and allowing it — as had been expected — to skip over the committee process.  Senate Republicans are writing their own proposal, but will use the House bill as a shell to get their bill through the upper chamber. McConnell's move will allow him to bring up the legislation quickly once Republicans are ready to vote. (Carney, 6/8)

CQ Roll Call: Hospitals, Advocacy Groups Push For Changes In Health Care Bill
Medical industry and consumer groups are increasingly convinced that Senate Republicans will make only modest revisions to the House health care bill, despite the groups' pleas for significant changes so millions of Americans will not lose access to coverage...Senate Republicans say they want to vote on their version of the House Republican bill (HR 1628) before the July Fourth recess. Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, said Wednesday that the Congressional Budget Office would need two to three weeks to work up estimates on the bill. (Young, 6/8)

Meanwhile, the vice president will be speaking about health care on his visit to Milwaukee —

The Associated Press: Pence To Discuss Health Care In Wisconsin Visit
Vice President Mike Pence is traveling to Milwaukee on Saturday for a listening session and speech on former President Barack Obama's health care law. The vice president's office says Pence will meet with business leaders and families in Wisconsin to discuss the "adverse effects" of the law. Pence will be joined by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. (6/8)

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