KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

With No Room For Error, McConnell Delays Health Vote While McCain Recovers From Surgery

Without Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) -- who had a craniotomy Friday -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wouldn't have the 50 votes needed to get his legislation passed. To add to the timeline, the Congressional Budget Office announced Sunday that it would not release an updated score of the bill Monday, as originally expected.

The New York Times: A Top Republican Vows A Vote On Health Care, But Uncertainty Reigns
A top Senate Republican vowed on Sunday to bring the party’s health care bill to a vote as soon as possible, even as detractors said they would use a delay caused by the absence of Senator John McCain to mobilize further opposition to the measure. “I believe as soon as we have a full contingent of senators, that we’ll have that vote,” the No. 2 Senate Republican, John Cornyn of Texas, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” (Pear, 7/16)

The New York Times: McCain’s Surgery May Be More Serious Than Thought, Experts Say
The condition for which Senator John McCain had surgery on Friday may be more serious than initial descriptions have implied, and it may delay his return to Washington by at least a week or two, medical experts said on Sunday. The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, has already announced that votes on a bill to dismantle the Affordable Care Act will not begin until Mr. McCain’s return. (Grady and Pear, 7/16)

Bloomberg: No CBO Health Score Monday As McConnell Delays Vote For McCain 
McCain has said he’s concerned about the impact of proposed Medicaid cuts on his home state, and said on July 13 he couldn’t say whether he would support McConnell’s new bill. He said he was working with Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, a Republican, on a series of Medicaid-related amendments to the bill. (Litvan, 7/15)

The Wall Street Journal: GOP Push To Pass Health-Care Law Faces New Setback
The delay prolongs the uncertainty over the bill’s prospects. GOP leaders have pursued a fast-paced timeline, as health-policy changes are often controversial. Sen. John Cornyn, a member of Senate GOP leadership, told reporters last month that passing the bill is “not going to get any easier” with time. Another GOP senator, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said the bill “is not like fine wine; it doesn’t get better with age.” (Tau, Radnofsky and Peterson, 7/16)

The Hill: McCain Recovers From Medical Procedure In Arizona
McCain’s fellow Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) reached out to McCain in a statement calling him “tenacious and resilient.” “I have never known a man more tenacious and resilient than John McCain. I look forward to seeing him back at work soon. In the meantime, Cheryl and I extend our best wishes to John, Cindy and the entire McCain family and pray for his speedy recovery," Flake said in a statement. (Manchester, 7/15)

The Hill: White House Pre-Buts CBO Healthcare Score: 'Little More Than Fake News' 
Two White House aides are preemptively casting doubt on the accuracy of the Congressional Budget Office's assessment of Senate Republicans' healthcare plan, claiming the estimate will be "little more than fake news." In an op-ed published in The Washington Post, White House legislative affairs director Marc Short and Brian Blase, a special assistant to the president for healthcare policy at the National Economic Council, urged Americans to give "little weight" to the CBO analysis, known as a score. (Greenwood, 7/15)

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