KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Lawmakers That Trump Pushed Into Signing ‘Mean’ Bill Peeved At The President’s Candid Comments

Although President Donald Trump personally helped champion the legislation through the House and called it a "great plan" when it passed, he is now saying it's "mean" and that the Senate should be more "generous" in its version. The about-face has left lawmakers scratching their heads. Meanwhile, in the upper chamber, each senator is fighting for their own state's best interest, but not everyone is going to win, and Democrats hit pause on the health fight after Wednesday's shooting.

The Associated Press: Trump Labeling House Health Care Bill 'Mean' Frustrates GOP
President Donald Trump's labeling of a House-passed health care bill as "mean" is aggravating some of the conservatives he pressed to back it, even as Senate attempts to reshape the measure increasingly threaten to spill into July. "In terms of strategery, I hope he's just trying to motivate the Senate," Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., said Wednesday, employing a mangled word used [in a parody of] former President George W. Bush. "Because he put all sorts of pressure on us to move the bill we passed." (Fram, 6/14)

The Washington Post: In GOP Health Care Struggle, It’s Senator Vs. Senator
Here’s one unique, easy-to-grasp way to understand the continued gridlock among Senate Republicans on how to change the health-care industry: Each senator is trying to get the best deal for his or her state. It’s a somewhat obvious observation, because that’s what happens in most congressional debates. But the last six weeks of Senate consideration of the Republican effort to overturn the Affordable Care Act has been somewhat lost in the weeds of Medicare regulations, the size and scope of tax credits and proposals to phase out benefits over a couple years or much longer. (Kane, 6/14)

Kaiser Health News: Descent Into Secrecy: Senate Health Talks Speak To Steady Retreat From Transparency
Congress struggling to finish a huge budget reconciliation bill. A GOP president pushing a major overhaul of federal payments for health insurance that could transform the lives of sick patients. Sound familiar? The year was 1986. I was a rookie health reporter on Capitol Hill and watched a Medicare bill move from introduction, to hearings, to votes in subcommittees, to full committees and then to the entire House — an operation that took months and was replicated in the Senate, before the two chambers got together to iron out their differences for final passage. Everything was published in the official Congressional Record in almost excruciating detail for everyone to see — as long as they could read really tiny type. (Rovner, 6/14)

CQ Roll Call: Republicans Weigh Higher Medicaid Growth Rate For Some States
Senate Republicans may provide higher federal funding to states with low Medicaid costs in their health care bill. The proposal under consideration gets to the heart of a key sticking point in the ongoing GOP discussions to overhaul the U.S. health care system: how to equitably treat states with drastically different Medicaid spending levels. Medicaid, the structure of tax credits and other issues are among the big disputes that Senate Republicans need to resolve, said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, on Wednesday. When asked if the Senate would vote by its self-imposed July Fourth goal, he demurred. (Young and Williams, 6/14)

Politico: Liberals Ease Up On Health Care Fight — For A Moment
Liberal activists on Wednesday hit pause on their all-out battle to thwart Republicans trying to fast track an Obamacare repeal-and-replace plan through the Senate. But Democratic lawmakers and outside groups say the mass shooting that wounded House Majority Whip Steve Scalise can’t slow down the overall effort. (Schor, 6/14)

And in more news —

The Washington Post Fact Checker: President Trump’s Mangled ‘Facts’ About Obamacare
Not a day goes by without President Trump bashing the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, as he tries to urge the Senate to pass its own version of a repeal-and-replace bill. He’s become a torrent of statistics as he has tried to make the case that the law is “dead,” as he puts it. Increasingly, the president is aided by reports churned out by the Department of Health and Human Services, which under President Barack Obama used to issue dubious reports defending the law but now offers dubious reports to undermine it. (Kessler, 6/15)

The Hill: Dems Request Review Of Whether Health Department Tweets Broke Law 
Congressional Democrats are requesting an investigation of whether the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under President Trump has been violating the law by advocating for the passage of legislation on its Twitter accounts. The Democrats, in a letter to the head of the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, point to messages on the official HHS Twitter feed calling for the passage of the Republican bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare, known as the American Health Care Act. (Sullivan, 6/14)

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