KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Dark Cloud Of Pessimism Settles Over Senate: ‘If I Had To Bet My House, I’d Bet We Don’t Get It Done’

Lawmakers, who are headed home for recess, aren't exactly hopeful that they can get the 50 votes they need to pass health care legislation through the Senate.

Politico: GOP Turns Gloomy Over Obamacare Repeal
A feeling of pessimism is settling over Senate Republicans as they head into a weeklong Memorial Day recess with deeply uncertain prospects for their push to repeal Obamacare. Senators reported that they’ve made little progress on the party’s most intractable problems this week, such as how to scale back Obamacare's Medicaid expansion and overall Medicaid spending. Republicans are near agreement on making tax credits for low-income, elderly Americans more generous, but that might be the simplest matter at hand. (Everett and Haberkorn, 5/25)

The Wall Street Journal: GOP Senators Will Contemplate Health-Care Overhaul During Weeklong Recess
The Congressional Budget Office’s latest analysis of the health-care overhaul bill passed by House Republicans underscored for their GOP colleagues in the Senate that they need a different version. They just don’t know yet what it will look like. “We’re not going to pass that bill in the Senate,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) said of the legislation passed by the House earlier this month dismantling and replacing much of the Affordable Care Act. But the Senate’s bill, he added, is a “work in progress.” (Peterson and Armour, 5/25)

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Senate Republicans Head Home Still Searching For Health Care Deal
As lawmakers trooped out of the U.S. Capitol on Thursday and headed home until early June, Senate Republicans told reporters they were making progress, but were still nowhere near finalizing a deal on a major overhaul of the Obama health law... But the schedule is already squeezing Republicans, as there are four work weeks in June, plus three in July – then Congress is scheduled to leave for a five week summer break that lasts until Labor Day. (Dupree, 5/26)

The Hill: Insurers: GOP Should Keep Pre-Existing Condition Protections 
Health insurers are calling on Senate Republicans to maintain ObamaCare’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions as they draft their replacement bill. The Affordable Care Act forced health insurers to adjust to a remade individual market that now prevented them from denying people coverage or charging them more based on pre-existing conditions. Those rules are known as guaranteed issue, and community rating.  (Sullivan, 5/25)

Bloomberg: Senate Mulls Health-Law Rewrite Pushing Obamacare Repeal To 2020 
Senate Republicans are weighing a two-step process to replace Obamacare that would postpone a repeal until 2020, as they seek to draft a more modest version than a House plan that nonpartisan analysts said would undermine some insurance markets. Republicans -- in the early stages of private talks on the Senate plan -- say they may first take action to stabilize premium costs in Obamacare’s insurance-purchasing exchanges in 2018 and 2019. Major insurers have said they will leave the individual market in vast regions of states including North Dakota, Iowa and Missouri. (Litvan, 5/25)

Bloomberg: The Senate Can’t Pass Health Care Without This Man 
Bill Cassidy, the first-term Republican senator from Louisiana, thinks the House’s Obamacare repeal bill failed to consider the impact it will have on one crucial constituency: patients. A medical doctor whose political life was forged in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and during decades working in a charity hospital, Cassidy wants a more robust replacement for Obamacare, one that lives up to Donald Trump’s campaign promise to replace it with a law that covers more people at a lower cost. (Dennis, 5/25)

Kaiser Health News/ProPublica: Strategies To Defend Unpopular GOP Health Bill: Euphemisms, False Statements And Deleted Comments
Earlier this month, a day after the House of Representatives passed a bill to repeal and replace major parts of the Affordable Care Act, Ashleigh Morley visited her congressman’s Facebook page to voice her dismay. “Your vote yesterday was unthinkably irresponsible and does not begin to account for the thousands of constituents in your district who rely upon many of the services and provisions provided for them by the ACA,” Morley wrote on the page affiliated with the campaign of Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.). “You never had my vote and this confirms why.” (Ornstein, 5/25)

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