KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Critics’ Take: The Updated Senate Health Bill Is Still Ugly After Cosmetic Changes; An ‘Abomination’

Opinion writers reacted with tough talk to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's latest health bill tweaks. The Wall Street Journal, however, terms the bill a "net improvement over the Obamacare status quo."

USA Today: Senate Health Bill: Don't Throw Momma From The Medicaid Train
In the river of retrograde effects certain to follow if the latest version of the Senate Republican health care bill passes largely intact, none is more surprising than the injury to elderly Medicaid recipients. To state this is not to prioritize poor elderly over other deserving beneficiaries. It is simply to say that nearly two-thirds of Americans in nursing homes are, well, on Medicaid. And while not every American has a loved one who is disabled, or a poor child, or struggling with opioids, or belongs to another beneficiary group, it does seem fair to say that at one time in their life every American had parents. If they live long enough, most will be on Medicaid. (Peter Fromuth, 6/14)

The New York Times: The Cruelty And Fraudulence Of Mitch McConnell’s Health Bill
A few days ago the tweeter in chief demanded that Congress enact “a beautiful new HealthCare bill” before it goes into recess. But now we’ve seen Mitch McConnell’s latest version of health “reform,” and “beautiful” is hardly the word for it. In fact, it’s surpassingly ugly, intellectually and morally. Previous iterations of Trumpcare were terrible, but this one is, incredibly, even worse. (Paul Krugman, 7/13)

The Wall Street Journal: ObamaCare Moment Of Truth
Republican leaders unveiled a revised health-care bill on Thursday, setting up a Senate watershed next week. Few votes will reveal more about the principles and character of this Congress. Months of stations-of-the-cross negotiations between conservative and GOP moderates have pulled the bill towards the political center, and for the most part the new version continues the journey. This leftward shift is Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s bid to meet the demands of still-recalcitrant Republican moderates. The bill remains a net improvement over the Obama Care status quo, but the question now is whether they’ll take yes for an answer. (7/13)

The Washington Post: The New Senate Health-Care Bill May Be Worse Than The Old One
Senate Republicans released Thursday a new version of their Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill. It is arguably worse than the unpopular bill that preceded it. The Congressional Budget Office projected that the previous iteration would result in 22 million more uninsured in a decade. “Looking at the revised Senate health bill, it’s hard to see how it could meaningfully alter CBO’s projection of how the uninsured will grow,” the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Larry Levitt noted. “The revised Senate bill reinstates taxes on wealthy people, but it mostly does not spend that money on health care for low-income people.” (7/13)

The Washington Post: The New GOP Health-Care Plan Is Still An Abomination
Senate Republicans are releasing the latest version of their health-care plan today, and there’s a temptation to focus solely on what’s changed from the previous iteration. The changes are important, and we have to understand them. But what we shouldn’t do is allow a relative judgment (maybe it’s better in this way but worse in that way) to distract us from the big picture, because what’s still in the bill from before is even more important than what has changed. (Paul Waldman, 7/13)

The Washington Post: The Senate Health Bill Would Make The Opioid Epidemic Worse. Here’s How.
Over the past two decades, the number of Americans dying each year from opioid overdoses has quadrupled. In the hardest-hit state, West Virginia, where the overdose death rate is about three times the national average, the crisis has resulted in an overwhelmed foster-care system and a state burial program for the poor that ran through its entire annual budget three months into the year. (Jonathan Gruber and Angela Kilby, 7/13)

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