KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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After Collins Officially Declares Opposition, Passing Health Bill Becomes ‘Nearly Impossible’

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) joins Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in opposition of Republicans' last-ditch efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, naming the "dramatic, sweeping cuts" to Medicaid as her top reason to vote no. The Republicans only had two votes to spare, so unless leadership can persuade one of three to change his or her vote, the bill would fail if brought to the floor.

The New York Times: Health Bill Appears Dead As Pivotal G.O.P. Senator Declares Opposition
A last-ditch attempt by President Trump and Senate Republicans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act appeared to collapse on Monday as a pivotal senator announced her firm opposition to the latest repeal plan, virtually ensuring that Republicans would not have the votes they need for passage. The announcement by the senator, Susan Collins of Maine, effectively dooms what had been a long-shot effort by Republicans in the Senate to make one more attempt at repealing the health law after failing in dramatic fashion in July. (Kaplan and Pear, 9/25)

The Washington Post: Senate GOP Effort To Unwind The ACA Collapses Monday
While one top Republican senator held out the possibility that the Senate might still vote on the bill, others accepted the reality that the push had sputtered out after Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) joined two of her colleagues in formal opposition. “Everybody knows that’s going to fail,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), who led a raucous, five-hour hearing on the bill Monday afternoon. “You don’t have one Democrat vote for it. So it’s going to fail.” Monday’s developments amounted to a massive setback for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and President Trump, who spent the past week trying to rally support for a last-ditch attempt to fulfill a seven-year Republican promise. (Sullivan, Eilperin and Snell, 9/25)

Los Angeles Times: Latest GOP Obamacare Repeal Effort On Verge Of Collapse As Third Republican Comes Out Against Bill
Monday afternoon, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) said GOP leaders would probably not be able to hold a vote this week as planned. Even before Collins’ announcement Monday, President Trump sounded increasingly downbeat about the bill’s chances. “We’re going to lose two or three votes, and that’s the end of that,” Trump said Monday on Alabama radio’s “Rick and Bubba Show,” criticizing Republican senators for withholding their support after years of promising to repeal and replace the law. “They pander and they grandstand.” (Mascaro and Levey, 9/25)

The Wall Street Journal: Collins Becomes Third Republican To Oppose Graham-Cassidy Bill
The Republicans’ latest proposal would take much of the 2010 law’s funding and transform it into block grants, which states could use to shape their own health-care systems. Ms. Collins said the earlier and newer versions of the bill both “open the door for states to weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma, cancer, heart disease, arthritis and diabetes. ”Ms. Collins said in a statement she was concerned by the rushed process used to consider the bill co-sponsored by her Republican colleagues, Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana. (Armour and Peterson, 9/25)

Bloomberg: Latest GOP Health Bill Dies As Collins Says She Will Vote ‘No’ 
“It makes sweeping cuts and changes in the Medicaid program, which is a vital program for our low-income, vulnerable citizens, including disabled children and low-income seniors,” she told reporters Monday evening, adding that President Donald Trump and senior members of his administration had tried to woo her over the weekend. (Tracer, Litvan and Edney, 9/25)

Politico: Collins’ Opposition Dooms Latest Obamacare Repeal Effort
Senate Republicans are set to meet Tuesday on whether to try to open debate on health care again on the floor to show the GOP’s base that they are still trying to repeal Obamacare. The caucus is internally debating whether to hold a vote certain to fail later this week. “We’re going to need to have a meeting of our conference tomorrow at noon to see where we can see where everybody is,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas). (Everett, Haberkorn and Dawsey, 9/25)

The Associated Press: Paul Still Opposes GOP Health Care Bill, Despite Changes
Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul says he will not vote for the latest Republican health care bill, calling last-minute changes that would send more money to his state and those of other undecided senators as "suspicious." Republican leaders over the weekend tweaked the bill to give more money to states including Alaska, Arizona, Maine and Kentucky. (Beam, 9/25)

The Hill: Cruz Still A No On ObamaCare Repeal Bill 
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is still opposed to the latest ObamaCare repeal legislation despite the changes that have been made to the bill, according to a Cruz aide. Cruz's position further endangers the Republican ObamaCare repeal effort, which appears to be on the brink of failure. (Weixel, 9/25)

The New York Times: The Republican Senators Who Have Opposed The Many Bills To Repeal Obamacare
Three Republican senators firmly opposed the latest plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, leaving Senate leaders short of the votes needed for passage. Thirteen Republican senators from 12 states have rejected at least one of the Senate’s five major repeal efforts in recent months. Opposition has come from the party’s moderates and hard-liners, but for different reasons. (Andrews, Park and Parlapiano, 9/25)

The Hill: Last-Ditch Repeal Bill Appears Dead 
It’s not clear whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will still try to hold a floor vote later this week, something some GOP donors and the White House may want to see just to get senators on the record. (Carney, Sullivan and Roubein, 9/25)

Kaiser Health News: Sen. Collins Announces Opposition To GOP Bill To Replace Obamacare
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said if someone brings him a health proposal that can gain the 50 votes needed to pass under the budget reconciliation process, he will resume consideration of the bill that he pulled from consideration in July. The Senate’s ability to use the fast-track process, however, expires at the end of the fiscal year, which is Saturday. (Rovner, 9/25)

The Philadelphia Inquirer/Philly.com: For Rick Santorum, A Haircut, A Health Bill And A Return To The National Fray
More than 10 years and two presidential campaigns after leaving the Senate, Rick Santorum is back in the fray. Despite holding no political office, the polarizing Pennsylvania Republican has been in the middle of the latest Republican push to roll back the Affordable Care Act, an effort that faces a critical deadline this week in what reads like a horror movie for Democrats, starring an idea and a politician that keep coming back. (Tamari, 9/25)

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