KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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CBO Report Shines Stark Light On Just How Much Wealthiest Will Benefit From Repeal Plan

The plan offers billions of dollars’ worth of tax cuts to health insurers, pharmaceutical companies, investors and even tanning salon operators -- amounting to nearly $1 trillion over a decade. Meanwhile, The Washington Post fact checks claims about the medical device tax.

The New York Times: One Certainty Of G.O.P. Health Plan: Tax Cuts For The Wealthy
The House Republicans’ plan to replace the Affordable Care Act is messy and confusing. No one is sure exactly how Americans will be affected and how much more health insurance will cost them. But there are two certainties. Their health care plan provides a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans. And it will make it easier for Republicans to pass more tax cuts this year. It could also be viewed by some people as a break from some of the populist campaign promises President Trump made to lift up the country’s “forgotten men and women.” (Rappeport, 3/15)

The Associated Press: GOP Health Plan: Tax Cuts For Rich; Hits Older People Hard
The House Republican health care plan backed by President Donald Trump provides billions of dollars in tax cuts for wealthy families and insurance companies, but it hits older Americans hard with higher insurance premiums and smaller tax credits. In all, the bill provides $883 billion in tax relief by repealing almost all of the taxes enacted under President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, according to estimates by the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, the official tax scorekeeper for Congress. (3/16)

CQ Roll Call: Obamacare Replacement Looks Like A Tax Cut To Some
Senate GOP leaders see a silver lining in the contentious House Republican health care legislation: an ambitious tax cut of $883 billion. Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas was among the senior Senate Republicans who said the Congressional Budget Office projection that taxes would be reduced by nearly $883 billion over 10 years, plus the bill's attempt to curb Medicaid, could attract support for legislation aimed at repealing parts of the 2010 health care overhaul (PL 111-148, PL 111-152). (Ota, 3/15)

The Washington Post Fact Checker: The Claim That The Medical-Device Tax Led To The Loss Of 20,000 U.S. Jobs
The GOP replacement for the Affordable Care Act would repeal most new taxes in the current health-care law, or Obamacare. Among those taxes is the 2.3 percent medical-device tax, which has faced criticism from both Democrats and Republicans. Lawmakers have attributed all sorts of negative impacts to this law, and we’ve fact-checked some of those claims in the past. A two-year moratorium of the tax, which took effect in 2013, started in December 2015. (Lee, 3/16)

Media outlets also report on how the plan will affect the states —

Seattle Times: 700,000 Washingtonians Would Be Uninsured Under GOP Health Plan, Inslee Says
Washington state would have to come up with more than $2.5 billion a year to pay for losses in Medicaid coverage expected a decade from now under the GOP health-care plan, said Gov. Jay Inslee in a Wednesday news conference. It’s that or 600,000 Washingtonians would lose insurance they gained under Obamacare, said Inslee, as he and state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler added details to their earlier analyses of the GOP plan. (Young, 3/15)

Arizona Republic: GOP Health Bill Would Cut Nearly $47 Million In Arizona Public Health Funds
Arizona could lose $46.8 million in federal public health funding over the next five years via a cut included in the House Republican health bill, likely forcing local health departments to reduce or cut public health programs. While debate over the GOP's American Health Care Act largely focuses on how the bill seeks to remake private-sector insurance and the Medicaid program for low-income and disabled people, a less-publicized provision would eliminate a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fund of nearly $1 billion that sustains public health programs nationwide. (Alltucker, 3/15)

WBUR: What The House GOP Health Bill Would Mean For Mass.
At least half a million Massachusetts residents are among the 24 million Americans who the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says would no longer have health insurance by 2026 under the House GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. The plan’s key architect, Speaker Paul Ryan, says many Americans would be choosing to end coverage because they will no longer be forced to buy it. But many Massachusetts residents say they would not have a choice; they'd be forced to drop coverage because it would not be affordable. (Bebinger, 3/15)

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