KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

House Votes To Delay Individual Mandate

The House took its 50th vote to change the health law, passing a bill that would delay the individual mandate to carry health insurance for one year. The measure will likely never be taken up in the Democrat-led Senate.

The Associated Press/Washington Post: House Backs Bill To Delay Health Care Penalty
The House on Wednesday backed a one-year delay in the penalty that individuals would have to pay for failing to sign up for health insurance, the 50th time Republicans have forced a vote to repeal, gut or change the law championed by President Barack Obama. The vote was 250-160, with 27 Democrats joining Republicans on legislation to postpone the individual mandate under the law. The measure stands no chance in the Democratic-led Senate and the White House has threatened a veto (3/5).

ABC News: House Takes 50th Vote To Change ‘Obamacare’
While the president once again makes changes to his signature legislative achievement, House Republicans continue targeting the health care law, casting their 50TH vote today to tweak it since seizing majority control in 2011. The vote passed 250 to 160 with 27 Democrats crossing the aisle to vote with the GOP majority. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the bill, known formally as “Suspending the Individual Mandate Penalty Law Equals Fairness Act,” would enact a one-year delay of Affordable Care Act‘s individual mandate, changing the penalty for failing to buy health insurance from $95, or one percent of income, to zero (Parkinson, 3/5).

Politico Pro: Ellmers: ACA Replacement May Be Multiple Bills
A GOP plan to replace Obamacare may be a collection of different bills rather than a single omnibus package, a Republican congresswoman said Wednesday. “We’ve got to come together on a plan, and it may actually end up being multiple bills we vote on,” Rep. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, a member of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, said at a POLITICO Health Care Breakfast Briefing in Washington. Ellmers said getting Republicans to agree on one plan is like “herding cats” but that ultimately the party will examine “what has worked and what hasn’t worked” about Obamacare to devise a solution (Cheney, 3/5).

And the new chair of the Senate Finance Committee says he'll fix how Medicare pays doctors --

The Oregonian: Ron Wyden Vows Permanent 'Doc Fix' For Medicare In First Speech As Finance Chairman
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, in his maiden speech as chair of the Senate Finance Committee, told a hospital association this week, that he will make a major push to permanently end the recurring battles over Medicare payments to doctors. Congress has routinely overrode a 1997 law aimed at limiting physician fees as a way to control Medicare costs.  These so-called "doc fixes" have become a regular feature of annual haggling over budgets as physician groups have complained that they would face steep cuts in Medicare fees if the fixes weren't enacted. Legislation is now moving in Congress to permanently repeal the 1997 law and Wyden embraced that effort in a speech Tuesday to the Federation of American Hospitals (Mapes, 3/5).

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