KHN Morning Briefing

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‘The Senate Is Starting From Scratch’: Upper Chamber’s Version Of Health Bill Expected To Be Radically Different

House Republicans last week celebrated narrowly passing their health care plan, but lawmakers in the Senate say that version of the legislation has "zero" chance of passing their chamber.

Bloomberg: Senate Republicans Plan Health Bill That Keeps Some Of Obamacare 
Republican senators plan to write a health-care bill that could be radically different from the one passed last week by the House, including keeping some of the benefits and safeguards currently enshrined within Obamacare. The Senate’s different approach means there’s no clear timetable for producing a bill, and it likely ensures that President Donald Trump and House Republicans will eventually have to face legislation that doesn’t fully repeal the Affordable Care Act despite their repeated campaign promises to do it. (Strohm and Brody, 5/7)

The Wall Street Journal: Senate Tackles Rewrite On GOP Health-Care Bill
Republican senators planned Friday to begin a formal full rewrite of the House GOP health-care bill, driven in part by a sense that the House version made insurance cheaper for young people but costlier for older Americans—an influential, mostly GOP voting bloc. Among the provisions senators are tackling is one that allows insurers to charge older Americans five times as much as younger people and lets states obtain waivers that could make that disparity even larger. (Armour and Peterson, 5/5)

Politico: Collins: Senate Won't Be Tied Down By House Health Care Bill
Sen. Susan Collins said on Sunday the Senate will not be tied down by the Republican health care bill approved by the House. Asked on ABC's "This Week" whether she would vote yes on the House bill, the Maine Republican said she wouldn’t have to. "First of all, the House bill is not going to come before us," she said. "The Senate is starting from scratch. We're going to draft our own bill. And I'm convinced that we're going to take the time to do it right." (Gee, 5/7)

The Wall Street Journal: Republicans Press Case For Health Bill As Senators Weigh Changes
Ms. Collins said the bill was difficult to assess, because the House passed it before the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office had completed its latest estimate of how much the bill would cost and of how it would change the number of Americans with health insurance. She also said the bill “really hurts a state like Maine” by not having geographical adjustments for tax credits that the bill offers to help people buy health insurance. (Zumbrun and Sonne, 5/7)

Nashville Tennessean: Corker Says House Health Care Bill Has 'Zero' Chance In Senate In Current Form
With the House passage of a bill to repeal and replace major parts of the Affordable Care Act, the work now shifts to the Senate. The Senate will take advantage of the work done by the House but will write its own bill, said Sen. Lamar Alexander, the Republican chairman of the committee that oversees health care issues. ... Meanwhile, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Chattanooga, told MSNBC on Thursday that the House version of the bill has "zero" chance of passing the Senate in its current form.  "No. Zero," Corker said. "That's not the way it is going to work." (Collins, 5/5)

KCUR: Kansas Senator Jerry Moran Says Senate Will Start From Scratch On Health Care 
Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) says he hasn’t read the legislation the House passed Thursday to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. What’s more, he says, it doesn’t matter, because the Senate is going to reboot the whole issue. “What the House attempted to pass last time was not something that I found satisfactory,” says Moran, referring to the plan that was pulled before a vote in March. “So, we’ll take a look at this. But what I would say is, it doesn’t matter that much in the Senate, because we’re going to start from scratch.” (Morris, 5/5)

The Hill: McConnell: Senate Health Bill ‘Will Be A Simple Majority-Vote Situation’ 
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Saturday that the Senate does not expect any help from Democrats as it tries to pass legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare. “We don’t anticipate any Democratic help at all, so it will be a simple majority vote situation,” McConnell told The Associated Press. McConnell’s comments come after the House on Thursday narrowly voted to pass the American Health Care Act, which repeals key elements of ObamaCare. (Shelbourne, 5/7)

And a look at the main players in the Senate —

The Hill: Five Senators To Watch In Healthcare Fight 
The House’s passage of legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare moves the issue to the Senate, where its future is far from certain. GOP senators have said they will overhaul the House bill, and that legislation won’t reach the floor until it has 51 votes. Here are the five key players to watch. (Hellmann, 5/6)

The Associated Press: A Look At The Senators Crucial To Action On Health Care
Senate Republicans get their shot at crafting a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The version that narrowly passed the House on Thursday didn't win over many in the Senate, where lawmakers insist they'll come up with their own version. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., spoke to President Donald Trump after the House vote and is now working with roughly a dozen other senators — all male — to write a new bill. (Jalonick, 5/5)

Reuters: Democrats Criticize Senate's All-Male Healthcare Group
U.S. Democrats on Sunday criticized the lack of women on a working group in the Republican-led Senate that will craft a plan to pass legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare. As the Senate begins to wrestle with a Republican healthcare bill narrowly approved by the House of Representatives last week, senators questioned why the 13-member working group put together by Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell does not include any of the chamber's five Republican women. (5/7)

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