KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

GOP Hammers “Risk Corridors” As Bailout; Democrats Worry About Explaining Law

Republicans are trying to tie a vote raising the debt ceiling to repealing the health law's "risk corridors," which help mitigate insurer risk. In the meantime, President Obama faces some pushback on the law's rocky rollout from his own party.

The Hill: Republicans Count Votes On Tying Debt Hike To Health Care Law
House Republican leaders are canvassing their members to see whether they have enough votes to pass an increase in the debt ceiling that is tied to a repeal of the “risk corridors” provision in Obamacare. The party on Tuesday held its second private session in the last week devoted to finding a plan to raise the debt limit by the late-February deadline set by the Treasury Department (Berman and Becker, 2/4).

Related, earlier KHN story: The Health Law's '3 Rs' For Insurers: A Bailout Or Necessary Safeguards? (Carey, 1/30)

Politico: GOP Weapon 2: Hit Obamacare Over ‘Insurer Bailouts’
The last thing Democrats want to do, with a law as complicated and full of moving parts as the Affordable Care Act, is explain what the law actually does. And yet, they’re going to have to come up with something to answer the Republicans’ latest line of attack. The program that’s causing all the trouble is supposed to help insurers get through the first few years of Obamacare if their costs are higher than they thought. And it’s not an emergency measure -- it was built into the law all along (Nather, 2/5).

The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Obama Faces Fresh Democratic Pressure On Health Care
Some Democratic lawmakers intensified pressure on President Barack Obama Tuesday to take actions he has been resisting when it comes to health care and the nation’s energy supply. Mr. Obama hosted a private meeting at the White House for House Democrats. Both sides afterward described the session as productive and friendly. But Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D., N.H.) told Mr. Obama at one point that some people should have left their jobs over the flawed rollout of the health care law that is the centerpiece of his domestic legacy (Nicholas and Hook, 2/4).

The Associated Press: US Senate Candidate Wants To Open Medicare To All
U.S. Senate candidate Rick Weiland said Tuesday that Medicare is so efficient and popular among the elderly that he wants to open it to all Americans. Weiland, the sole Democrat running for the seat being vacated by Sen. Tim Johnson [D-S.D.], pledged to introduce legislation letting anyone of any age the opportunity to buy health insurance from the government program (Lammer, 2/4).

Meanwhile --

Politico: Poll: 51% Disapprove Of Obamacare
In a Gallup Poll, released Tuesday, 51 percent of Americans said they disapprove of the Affordable Care Act and 41 percent say they approve of the law. Nevertheless, these numbers are a slight improvement from Gallup’s previous poll released last month, which showed 54 percent disapproval and 38 percent approval (McCalmont, 2/4).

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