KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Perspectives: Bracing For The CBO’s Estimates; What Would Change Under GOP Health Plan?

Opinion writers examine expectations of what the Congressional Budget Office might have to say about the Republican's plan to dismantle Obamacare, handicap how that repeal-and-replace effort is proceeding and take a hard look at how it could play out.

The New York Times: The Five Big Numbers To Look For In The C.B.O. Report On Health Care Reform
The Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act was released early last week, and it has already marched through consideration in two important committees. Yet members of Congress debated the policy details without essential information: The bill had not yet been “scored” by the Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan group of budget analysts and economists whose job is to forecast the bill’s consequences over the next decade or so. (Kevin Quealy and Margot Sanger-Katz, 3/12)

The Wall Street Journal: The House GOP Health Plan Makes ObamaCare Look Good
Speaker Paul Ryan, Rep. Kevin Brady and Rep. Greg Walden unveiled their plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare last week, and jammed it through Mr. Brady’s and Mr. Walden’s committees. Maybe they should have given it an out-of-town tryout first, because it bombed in Washington on opening night and is drawing bad reviews from left and right. (Alan S. Blinder, 3/12)

The New York Times: The Moral Failing Of Obamacare Repeal
Imagine a car crash. There’s twisted metal, broken glass and the low moaning of an injured human being. An ambulance arrives, and two emergency medical technicians get out. Now imagine this: One E.M.T. moves to the wreck, sees the wounded driver — a man, the one who’s moaning — and before doing anything else, flips down the driver’s seat visor, looking for an insurance card that isn’t there. Then he stands back up, frowns and shakes his head. (Theresa Brown, 3/11)

Chicago Tribune: Obamacare Is Floundering. Seize This Moment To Fix It.
[W]e agree with House Speaker Paul Ryan about the stakes here: "This is the closest we will ever get to repealing and replacing Obamacare," he says. "The time is here. The time is now. This is the moment." Lawmakers who don't seize it, especially Republicans, should expect the wrath of voters in 2018 and 2020. Sure, everyone wants to see the Congressional Budget Office scoring of the bill, which will show its impact not only on the budget but also on Americans who now have insurance under Obamacare. That's crucial. ... If the CBO says the GOP plan bounces too many Americans from coverage without giving them an affordable alternative, Republicans will have to retool, fast. ... But remember why we're in this situation. Obamacare isn't some health care panacea, gaining new insurers and covering exponentially larger numbers of Americans every year. It's floundering. (3/10)

The Washington Post: Millions Might Lose Health Coverage? Not To Hear Republican Leaders Tell It.
Depending on which outside analyst you ask, between 6 million and 15 million people would probably lose insurance coverage if the Republican alternative to the Affordable Care Act passes Congress and is signed into law. Or, actually, let’s revise that. Depending on whom you ask in Republican leadership, the real number is more like zero — or, perhaps, negative: People will gain coverage under the proposal. (Philip Bump, 3/12)

Detroit Free Press: Republicans' Health Care Proposal Is Doomed
Few folks on either side of the ideological divide would call Obamacare an unqualified success. And that's a fair assessment. The 2010 Affordable Care Act had two aims: Insure more Americans, and control and rationalize the health care market and its costs. The first, unquestionably, has happened. The second? It's complicated — premiums have increased, but maybe not so much as without the ACA's reforms. (Nancy Kaffer, 3/11)

The Oklahoman: GOP's Obamacare Replacement Plan Beats The Status Quo
The ironically named Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, has been a mess since day one. Yet the slapdash way the law was drafted, combined with the logistical challenges of overcoming a Senate Democrat filibuster, make a clean repeal of the law unlikely. Thus, the replacement proposal unveiled by House Republicans left many disappointed. We share critics' concerns, but also see positive elements in the plan. The proposal would repeal many regulations and taxes that have created perverse incentives in U.S. health care. (3/13)

Los Angeles Times: Trumpcare: Is This What Populism Looks Like?
The battle in Congress over how to replace former President Obama’s healthcare law is about much more than health insurance. It’s the first legislative skirmish in a larger struggle over what Trumpism, Donald Trump’s presidential agenda, will turn out to be in practice. (Doyle McManus, 3/12)

Detroit Free Press: Why We Need Obamacare
I am the poster child for why we need Obamacare. If it had become law sooner, the Affordable Care Act would have meant no denial at my first application for coverage — and I could have received appropriate treatment right away, in a manner that would not pile up the debt. You don’t have to be bloodstained to know this could be you, too. It could be someone you care about. It could be a bunch of people in your neighborhood or the next town over who, if they could receive preventive care, could be taxpaying contributors to the economy. (Darci McConnell, 3/11)

Sacramento Bee: Republican ‘Health’ Bill Cruelly Takes Aim At Mentally Ill 
In their rush to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, congressional Republicans are engaging in a sleight-of-hand at the expense of people who are among the least able to fend for themselves, the severely mentally ill. A mere four months ago, in December, Republicans were patting themselves on the back for approving what they called major mental health care legislation, the 21st Century Cures Act, a measure to increase funding for mental health care and ensure more treatment for severely mentally ill people. (3/11)

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