KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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‘We Need To Start Voting’: GOP Leaders Press For Progress Even As Divisions Grow Deeper

Senators are back from break after facing angry constituents at home, but they only have three weeks before the upcoming August recess to smooth out disagreements over the proposed health care bill.

Reuters: Healthcare Disagreements Roil U.S. Senate Republicans
With only three weeks left before a summer recess scheduled to stretch until Sept. 5, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared determined to keep trying to find agreement on a partisan, all-Republican bill. If he cannot, he will be faced with giving up on a seven-year Republican promise to repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare - and possibly turning to Democrats for help in fixing problems with U.S. health insurance markets. (Cornwell and Becker, 7/10)

The Associated Press: Senate GOP Leaders Hope For Health Care Vote Next Week
"We need to start voting" on the GOP bill scuttling much of President Barack Obama's health care law, No. 2 Senate GOP leader John Cornyn of Texas told reporters Monday. Some Republicans said a revised version of the bill could be introduced Thursday, and Cornyn said the "goal" was for a vote next week. (Fram and Werner, 7/11)

The Wall Street Journal: Senate Republicans Set Sights On Revised Health Bill
The biggest sticking point in recent days has centered on a provision supported by GOP Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah that would allow insurers that sell plans complying with ACA regulations to also sell health policies that don’t. Health analysts say that would likely lower premiums for younger, healthier people, who would buy more limited policies, while causing premiums to rise for people with pre-existing conditions, who would buy the more comprehensive plans that comply with the ACA. (Peterson, 7/10)

The Hill: GOP: Cruz-Lee Proposal Hinges On Budget Score 
Senate Republican leaders say whether they make a controversial conservative change to their healthcare bill depends on the results of an analysis from the Congressional Budget Office. The proposal from Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), which is key to winning their support, is currently being analyzed by the CBO. (Sullivan, 7/10)

Modern Healthcare: McConnell Wonders What's The Matter With Kansas On Repeal Bill
No one was terribly surprised that some centrist Republican senators like Maine's Susan Collins balked at backing a bill to roll back Obamacare's coverage expansions, weaken its consumer protections, and slash Medicaid. But what about Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas, who led the GOP's successful campaign to win control of the Senate in 2014? When a conservative party stalwart like Moran from a deep-red state voices opposition, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell knows he has big trouble ahead in securing the votes of 50 of his 52 GOP colleagues to pass his repeal-and-replace bill. (Meyer, 7/10)

The CT Mirror: GOP Still Trying, But Blumenthal Says Obamacare Repeal In ‘Total Disarray’
The Senate returns from its Fourth of July break this week without a firm strategy on how to move forward on a health care bill that has little public support and has split Republicans. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to fashion a bill that would win 50 votes, probably all Republican, which would allow Vice President Mike Pence to cast a tie-breaking ballot. (Radelat, 7/10)

Des Moines Register: At Town Meeting Dominated By Health Care, Ernst Says She's Undecided On Senate Legislation
U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst faced a barrage of questions on health care, but offered few firm answers at an early-morning town meeting here Monday. Ernst, a Republican, declined to take a position on the GOP-written health care bill now under consideration in the Senate, telling a crowd of about 150 at the forum and reporters in a press conference afterward that she wanted to see changes to the bill before publicly declaring her support. (Noble, 7/10)

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Ohio Health Care CEOs To Portman: Don't Back The GOP Health Care Proposal
Two days after Sen. Rob Portman announced that he couldn't support the bill advanced by Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, the CEOs of the MetroHealth System, UC Health, Summa Health System, Premier Health and Sisters of Charity Health System sent Portman a joint letter to thank him for his opposition and urge him to "remain steadfast unless our patients - your constituents - and the providers they trust to take care of them are better protected"... The CEOs' letter said Medicaid cuts in the bill would harm low-income communities in Ohio and their medical providers. (Eaton, 7/10)

Houston Chronicle: Health Care Protesters Target Cruz, Republicans In Capitol Hill Demonstrations 
Police arrested 80 health care protesters Monday at more than a dozen offices around the U.S. Capitol, including several who laid down and tried to block the doorway to the offices of Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. Several were detained after a group entered Cruz's office in the Senate's Russell building and stood chanting for about 15 to 20 minutes, according to congressional staffers who witnessed the incident. There were no reports of violence, but officers were seen carrying at least one protester out of the building. Others were led out in plastic cuffs. (Diaz, 7/10)

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