KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Different Takes: Attacking And Defending The GOP Health Plan

Editorial pages feature arguments from all sides of the current congressional debate about health policy.

The New York Times: Trumpcare’s Lonely, And Seedy, Supporter
The Republican health bill doesn’t have many outside supporters. Groups representing doctors, nurses, hospitals, retirees, patients of various diseases and even insurers have all criticized it. Some of the only outside praise has come from the chief executive of Anthem, the country’s second largest insurer. And therein lies another tale of the Trump administration’s conflicts of interest. (David Leonhardt, 3/17)

The Wall Street Journal: Offending ObamaCare
Have you heard the news? Democrats are going “on offense” to promote ObamaCare as Republicans consider the best way to replace it. Just one week ago NBC News reported that Democrats were “revving up” their “offensive” on health care. Now apparently the offensive is no longer merely idling in the political driveway but cruising around Capitol Hill. The progressive activists at Buzzfeed dutifully relay that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee “is now posturing itself as on offense on the issue.” (James Freeman, 3/16)

The Wall Street Journal: How To Repair ObamaCare’s Fiscal Damage
Most of the debate about the Affordable Care Act has centered on how it affects health care. It’s time to pay attention to how ObamaCare has damaged federal finances. Lawmakers must bear in mind, even as they balance other important value judgments affecting the health and income security of millions of Americans, that the current repeal-and-replace effort represents a unique, fleeting opportunity to accomplish essential fiscal corrections. (Charles Blahous, 3/16)

The Washington Post: How To Save The GOP Health-Care Plan
The American Health Care Act is in trouble, with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) admitting Wednesday that the bill must change to make it through Congress. The reason? The Republican right and the Republican center want different things, and the rules under which the proposed Obamacare replacement can pass the Senate by a simple majority make it extremely hard to satisfy both sides. But the apparently difficult problems of policy reforms are just that: “apparent.” With some outside-the-box thinking, some dealmaking and a little humility, the AHCA can be saved. (Hugh Hewitt, 3/16)

The New York Times: The G.O.P. Health Care Plan’s Fatal Flaw
Reconciliation is a fast-track process that allows budget-related legislation to pass the Senate without the prospect of a filibuster. The Byrd rule prevents reconciliation from being used to pass any measure for which the budgetary effects — “changes in outlays or revenues” — are “merely incidental to the non-budgetary components.” Republicans know they lack the 60 votes to break a filibuster in the Senate, so they designed their repeal-and-replace bill to satisfy the Byrd rule’s requirements. Yet there is a surprising flaw in their design — one that has so far drawn little notice, but that Senate Democrats will surely seize on. (Daniel Hemel and David Herzig, 3/16)

The New York Times: Why Republicans Keep Talking About Health Care ‘Prongs’
When faced with a tough question about nearly any aspect of the health bill moving through Congress, Republican officials like to mention their plan’s other “prongs.” In a briefing Tuesday, the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, cited the prongs again and again. Paul D. Ryan, the House Speaker, is fond of mentioning them. So is Tom Price, the secretary of Health and Human Services. They say the bill needs to be understood as part of a larger strategy of reforming the health care system, not a piece of legislation that, alone, can achieve their goals. (Margot Sanger-Katz, 3/16)

Sacramento Bee: Insurance Companies’ Deafening Silence On Destructive GOP Health Plan
Doctors, nurses and hospital executives have taken a stand to protect patients against the House Republicans’ American Health Care Act, the bill to eviscerate Obamacare. The potent voice of most health insurers so far is silent. Worse, some seem supportive. If major insurers support the Republican proposal, they would be making a tragic mistake, reinforcing their status as one of the country’s most reviled industries. (Tom Epstein, 3/16)

Bloomberg: Obamacare Isn't Going To Fix Itself
As the exciting saga of the American Health Care Act staggers forward, it’s easy to forget that new chapters of our old health care drama are still being written. On Wednesday, the department of Health and Human Services released its final estimate of the enrollment figures for Obamacare. ... If you’re not following health care policy closely, the significance of these changes may not be clear. But they are significant, and they matter, because they tell us how Obamacare is going -- and that matters not just for where we are now, but for the fate of any future Republican replacement. (Megan McArdle, 3/16)

The Wall Street Journal: Repeal And Replace: What Would Reagan Do?
As a conservative, I’d also like to see work requirements for able-bodied adults on Medicaid. Right now, 70 million Americans are enrolled in Medicaid, roughly nine million of whom are able-bodied adults with no children at home, But should we, in Reagan’s words, ”jump off the cliff,” or should we celebrate that this legislation includes the most transformational reform to Medicaid since its inception 50 years ago? (Rep. Robert Pittenger, (R-N.C.) 3/16)

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