KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

House Republicans Continue Health Law Defunding Push

More bills will move through the House this week designed to strip funding from specific provisions of the health law. The Obama administration has made clear its opposition – even threatened vetoes. Among the measures is one that would take away funds provided to assist states in setting up health exchanges. Also, some say that this legislation would have the unintended consequence of shifting decision-making power away from states to the federal branch.

The Washington Post: Another Week, Another Vote (Or Two) To Defund Health-Reform Bill
The news of Osama bin Laden's death may have consumed Capitol Hill Monday, but it didn't alter House Republicans' plans to continue their months-long quest to defund President Obama's health-care plan. Unable to decapitate last year's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the GOP has decided instead to administer death by 1,000 cuts - with two more cuts coming this week (Pershing, 5/2).

National Journal: White House Threatens Veto Of Republican Health Initiatives
President Obama threatened on Monday to fight or veto three moves afoot in the House to hobble the health care reform law: one that aims to prevent the use of federal dollars to pay for abortions, one that takes money away from new health insurance exchanges, and a third that would expand school health clinics. All three were being marked up late Monday by the House Rules Committee in preparation for floor action (Fox, 5/2).

Modern Healthcare: Several Health Care Issues On Congress' Agenda
As Congress returns after a two-week recess, House lawmakers will address a host of health care policy issues, including two more bills to repeal mandatory funding included in the health care reform law. On Tuesday, the House will consider a bill introduced in March by House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) to repeal funding in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act for states to establish health insurance exchanges. The lower chamber will also consider legislation introduced by Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), a physician, to repeal funding for school-based health clinics (Zigmond, 5/2).

The Hill: Experts Say GOP Could Boost Federal Role In Health Care
A GOP bill to cut off funding for part of the health care reform law could ultimately shift decision-making power from the states to the federal government, Democrats and nonpartisan analysts say. The bill, scheduled for a House floor vote Tuesday, would eliminate grants to help the states establish health insurance exchanges. But it wouldn't strip the federal government's power to run an exchange in any state that doesn't set up its own (Baker, 5/2).

Meanwhile -

Politico: States Turn To Work-Arounds On Health Insurance Exchanges
State governments across the country are exploring work-arounds to get health exchanges up and running after Republican legislators and tea party protests have blocked state laws to implement this piece of health care reform (Kliff, 5/3).

The Connecticut Mirror: New England HHS Director Takes To The Road For Health Care Reform
In 2009, when Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., first nominated [Christie] Hager to be New England's regional chief for the Department of Health and Human Services, the fate of federal health reform was unclear. By the time she was confirmed for the post, her patron had died, but Kennedy's life-long dream - federal health reform - had been signed into law. And over the past 12 months, Hager, a Massachusetts native and UConn law school graduate, has spent her days driving from one part of New England to another, trying to help officials in the six different states navigate the complexities of the new law. ... Connecticut, however, has been one of the more seamless transitions. "Connecticut's been one of those states that's been very active and engaged in health reform from day one of implementation," she said (Shesgreen, 4/28). 

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