KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

GOP Lawmakers Contemplate Daunting Budgetary Choices — Defund Health Law? Avoid Gov’t Shutdown? Raise Debt Ceiling?

The fiscal choices set up intra-party fissure for Republicans and draw more tough talk from President Barack Obama. 

Bloomberg: Republicans Weigh Defunding Health Law, Avoiding Shutdown
House Republicans return to Washington today still at loggerheads over how to thwart President Barack Obama’s health-care law without shutting down the federal government on Oct. 1. House Republican leaders are considering alternatives that would mollify those who want to defund and delay the president’s signature domestic achievement (Tiron, 9/17).

Politico: GOP Leaders Link Debt Hike, CR Fights
One option under consideration is an accelerated vote on the debt ceiling. There is discussion in House Republican leadership circles about setting a debt ceiling vote before Sept. 30. If Republican leaders show in the next few weeks how they will use the debt ceiling to delay Obamacare, it will display that the party's brass is serious about an all-or-nothing legislative brawl with Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama. That could help ease the passage of the continuing resolution to fund the government (Sherman and Bresnahan, 9/16).

The New York Times' Congressional Memo: Amid Revolt Over Fiscal 'Gimmicks,' Options Dwindle For G.O.P.
For three years, Congressional leaders have relied on tactical maneuvers, sleights of hand and sheer gimmickry to move the nation from one fiscal crisis to the next — with little strategy to deal with the actual problems at hand. Medicare and Social Security continue to swell with an aging population. Health care costs grow. A burdensome tax code remains unchanged, and economic revival is shadowed by the specter of Washington's crisis-driven mismanagement. Now, with a government shutdown looming at month's end and a crippling default on the nation's debt possible by mid-October, Congressional leaders may have run out the string on legislative trickery (Weisman, 9/16).

The Associated Press: 'Chaos'? Obama Goes After 'Extreme' Republicans
A potential federal shutdown looming, President Barack Obama on Monday warned congressional Republicans they could trigger national "economic chaos" if they demand a delay of his health care law as the price for supporting continued spending for federal operations. House Republican leaders were to meet Tuesday in hopes of finding a formula that would avoid a shutdown on Oct. 1 without alienating party conservatives who insist on votes to undercut the Affordable Care Act. Even more daunting is a mid- to late-October deadline for raising the nation’s borrowing limit, which some Republicans also want to use as leverage against the Obama administration (Kuhnhenn and Taylor, 9/16).

The Washington Post: Obama: I Will Not Negotiate On The Debt Ceiling
Some Republicans have threatened to hold up the funding of the government if Obamacare is funded as a part of it. Other Republicans disagree with that strategy, worrying about the consequences of a potential government shutdown. Obama said Republicans are effectively holding the government hostage by threatening to defund Obamacare. “I cannot remember a time when one faction of one party promises economic chaos when it doesn’t get everything it wants," he said (Blake, 9/16).

Arizona Republic: Congress Fight Near On Health Law, Debt
It has become familiar territory for Washington: The federal government has faced similar showdowns over budget deficits and borrowing limits three times in a little more than two years. This time, however, the Affordable Care Act has become entangled in the fight as conservative Republicans have seized on the crisis as their last chance to derail the health-reform law, which they view as an expensive government takeover of health care (Kelly, 9/16).

Roll Call: Obama Calls Out GOP On Budget, Obamacare
An angry President Barack Obama ripped into Republicans for failing to end the sequester and for even considering holding the government hostage over Obamacare. During a speech marking five years from the fiscal crisis in 2008, the president said he hoped Republicans would focus on his middle-class agenda (Dennis, 9/16).

The Hill: House GOP Shutdown Gambit Gains More Support
A leading House GOP effort to tie a defunding of ObamaCare to a bill funding the government after Oct. 1 has gained new support. The full-year continuing resolution authored by Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.) gained 17 new co-sponsors since it was introduced last week with 42 others on board (Wasson, 9/16).

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