KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Different Takes: A Repeal-Replace Redux?; Time To Take Graham-Cassidy’s ‘Zombie’ Bill Seriously

Editorial pages across the country are analyzing recent developments in the congressional GOP's ongoing repeal-and-replace effort and taking notice of the latest -- what some say is the last-ditch -- measure to undo the Affordable Care Act.

Bloomberg: Last-Ditch Obamacare Repeal Is Worth Taking Seriously 
Think of Graham-Cassidy as allowing each state to try its hand at health-care policy, backed by a federal lump sum payment. Not surprisingly, opponents fear the states could waive essential components of Obamacare, such as the individual mandate, required coverage for pre-existing conditions or the regulations for “essential” health benefits. Alternatively, states could use the money to help develop their own single payer systems or pursue other innovations. The bill would also replace the federal-state partnership on Medicaid with capped per capita aid to each state, a formula that would induce many states to spend less on the health program for the poor. (Tyler Cowen, 9/18)

The New York Times: The Republican Health Care Zombie Is Back
Republican lawmakers have wasted much of the year trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a move that would deprive millions of people of health insurance. They’re back at it. Like a bad sequel to a terrible movie, a proposal whose main architects are Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina would in many ways be worse than bills that came before. It would punish states like California and New York that have done the most to increase access to health care and set in motion cuts to Medicaid, the federal-state program that provides insurance to nearly 70 million people, many of whom are disabled and elderly. (9/19)

Los Angeles Times: The GOP's Last-Ditch Obamacare Repeal Bill May Be The Worst One Yet
The Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act is back, a zombie again on the march weeks after it was declared dead. The newest incarnation is Cassidy-Graham, named after chief sponsors Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Compared with its predecessors, the bill would increase the ranks of America’s medically uninsured more — by millions of people — cost state governments billions more and pave the way for the elimination of all protection for those with preexisting medical conditions. (Michael Hiltzik, 9/18)

San Francisco Chronicle: Obamacare Alternatives Fall Short
The enduring frustration with the ACA — much of it properly directed at the costly, creaky and often cruel system it incrementally improved — is understandable. But the critics’ efforts to undo it keep unintentionally underscoring its centrist pragmatism compared with the alternatives. (9/18)

The Washington Post: On Health Care, Cassidy Flunks His Own ‘Jimmy Kimmel Test’
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) told late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, who had delivered an impassioned speech on health care after his own son was born with a heart defect, he would only support a bill that would make sure that a child like Kimmel’s would not lack health coverage. Cassidy later articulated his “Jimmy Kimmel test“: “Would the child born with a congenital heart disease be able to get everything she or he would need in that first year of life … even if they go over a certain amount?” (Jennifer Rubin, 9/18)

The Wall Street Journal: How To End ObamaCare In Two Pages
The GOP’s push to repeal the Affordable Care Act is running out of steam—and time. Unless Republicans can agree by Sept. 30, they won’t be able to pass a bill without 60 Senate votes. So here’s a wild idea: Instead of repealing ObamaCare, make it unconstitutional. Recall how the Supreme Court split when it upheld ObamaCare in 2012. Four justices thought the law’s individual mandate—the requirement that Americans buy health insurance or pay a penalty—was unconstitutional. Another four thought it was hunky dory. What broke the tie was a novel opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts, who upheld the penalty by declaring it a tax. (James F. Blumstein, 9/18)

Los Angeles Times: Are Democratic And Republican Healthcare Proposals Really Equally 'Extreme'?
Will the real moderate party please stand up? On the same day that socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced his “Medicare for All” healthcare plan, Sens. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) introduced a last ditch effort to sorta-kinda repeal and replace Obamacare. Despite having zero chance of being passed any time soon, Sanders’ bill grabbed the limelight for two reasons. (Jonah Goldberg, 9/19)

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