KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Thoughts On The Obamacare Repeal’s Direction; Whether THe ACA Can Survive Another Challenge; And Budget Brinkmanship

Editorial writers offer perspectives on these and other health policy and system issues.

The Wall Street Journal: ObamaCare Repeal Needs A Direction
Before you start a journey, it helps to know where you are going. That’s obvious advice—but instructive as Republicans consider next steps in the effort to repeal ObamaCare. Before getting lost in arcane Senate rules, technical modifications to the existing law, or Congressional Budget Office scores, conservatives must define for themselves and the American people what they are actually trying to accomplish. (Bobby Jindal, 4/24)

RealClear Health: Can Obamacare Survive Another Round In The Congressional Boxing Ring?
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has survived its biggest challenge to date with the failed attempt to repeal and replace by the GOP. But will it survive in the long run? Republican comments and President Trump’s many tweets would suggest the law is still doomed. It is hard to predict what will happen, but let’s examine some themes we are seeing so far to try to gain some insight. (Shawn Yates, 4/25)

The Wall Street Journal: Medicaid And Mr. Monopoly
When progressives think of Republicans, the image that likely comes to mind is Mr. Monopoly, the top-hatted fellow from the popular board game. It helps that his original name was Rich Uncle Pennybags. In what will be a busy week in Washington, circumstances are ripening for a revival of the Mr. Monopoly caricature. The Republican House hopes to take another whack at ObamaCare reform, a large chunk of which is Medicaid. As if this were not enough to handle, Donald Trump promises a “big announcement” Wednesday about his tax plan, which will likely include cuts in the corporate tax rate. (William McGurn, 4/24)

The Washington Post: Downside To Holding Obamacare Hostage To Pay For Trump’s Wall? Obamacare Is More Popular.
In theory — as stipulated by President Trump countless times on the campaign trail and as reiterated by him on Twitter over the weekend — the construction of a large wall on the United States’ southern border will be paid for by the nation of Mexico. At no point in time has Trump offered a politically feasible explanation for how that payment will occur; in a tweet Sunday, he was more nebulous than normal. (Philip Bump, 4/24)

Chicago Tribune: Trump's Warning To Democrats About Obamacare Could Be A Bluff ... Or An Opportunity
Juust when Americans thought the Obamacare repeal effort was dead and buried, President Donald Trump has exhumed it. The president says he wants a deal on health care even as he vowed Friday to unveil a massive tax cut for Americans — another enormously complicated mission. The White House is pushing for a vote on a new Obamacare replacement bill in the coming days. The trouble is, Trump hasn't publicly demonstrated an ability to add or subtract provisions, or assemble a bipartisan coalition, to make a good deal happen. (4/21)

Los Angeles Times: This One Unbelievably Expensive Iowa Patient Makes The Case For Single-Payer Healthcare
Back in mid-2016, Iowa customers of Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, the dominant company in the state’s individual insurance market, got a shock: Premium increases of 38% to 43% were in store for many of them for this year. Three weeks ago they got a bigger shock: Wellmark was pulling out of Iowa’s individual market entirely, leaving the state with one company selling individual policies. Wellmark placed some of the blame on congressional Republicans’ failure to come up with a coherent repeal plan for the Affordable Care Act, leaving plans for 2018 in legislative limbo. With Wellmark’s departure, Iowa’s individual market may be down to a single insurer next year. (Michael Hiltzik, 4/24)

Chicago Tribune: How Our Health Care System Falls Short Compared With Those In Other Countries
I was four months pregnant, living in London, when American friends began to openly express their concern about why I wasn't moving back home to Los Angeles before the birth. "Doesn't it worry you to be so far away from your community?" one asked. "Don't you want to have an American baby?" asked another. I can't be sure what motivated these questions, but I suspect their fears were less about the emotional impact of giving birth overseas, as opposed to an unspoken anxiety about my baby's safety and my own under socialized medicine. (Lauren Marks, 4/23)

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