KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

GOP Bill To Extend Pre-Existing Condition Coverage Gets Veto Threat Over Prevention Fund Diversion

Republicans are offering a bill to keep coverage available for people with pre-existing conditions under the health law but want to use the law's prevention money to do so, prompting a veto threat from the White House.

The Associated Press/Washington Post: House Bill Uses Prevention Money To Extend Health Care Law Coverage To High-Risk Patients
House Republicans are coming to the aid of high-risk patients trying to get insurance under the new health care law. But they do so by diverting money from a prevention program that is key to the law, ensuring stiff opposition from Democrats and a veto threat from the White House. The GOP bill would provide up to $3.6 billion to ensure that people with pre-existing conditions continue to have access to private coverage until Jan. 1, when the law will fully take effect. In February the administration said it would stop taking applications for the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan because it was running out of money (4/24).

Politico: Right Turns On GOP Obamacare Bill
Republican-backed legislation meant to alter a piece of Obamacare has picked up some unlikely opponents: conservatives. The Club for Growth, ForAmerica and the Heritage Foundation have come out against the bill, which the House is expected to take up later this week (Gibson, 4/23).

Politico: GOP May Pull Contentious Obamacare Bill
House Republican leadership is considering canceling a vote this week on the “Helping Sick Americans Now Act,” a bill touted by Majority Leader Eric Cantor as a critical way to improve President Barack Obama’s health care law, according to multiple sources. Republicans will make a final push to garner support to pass the bill in a closed meeting Wednesday in the Capitol (Sherman, 4/24).

In other news, House lawmakers from both parties urge Medicare to stop planned cuts to cancer clinics, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans a way around the rest of the fiscal year's sequester cuts --

The Hill: Bipartisan Group Of House Members Presses Medicare Agency On Cancer Cuts
A solidly bipartisan group of more than 100 lawmakers is urging the Obama administration to reverse Medicare cuts to cancer clinics. The lawmakers questioned whether the Medicare agency can change the way the automatic cuts have been applied, so that cancer clinics won't be hit as severely (Baker, 4/23).

Modern Healthcare: Reid Plans To Fast-Track Senate Bill To Eliminate Sequester Cuts For Rest Of Fiscal 2013
Senate leaders plan to introduce a bill this week that would eliminate sequester cuts for the remainder of the fiscal year. Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans to fast-track a bill to eliminate about $85 billion in sequester cuts left for this fiscal year, according to a leadership aide. The cost of eliminating those cuts would be covered by expected savings from winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Budget Control Act of 2011 required $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction from cuts to a variety of government programs, including reduced payments to providers and insurers from 2013 until 2021 (Daly, 4/23).

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