KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Perspectives: Playing Offense, Defense On GOP Health Plan

Editorial pages offer a variety of views on the House GOP's American Health Care Act.

Bloomberg: Win Or Lose, Trumpcare Is Bad For Republicans
If House Republicans enact their health-care bill, they're screwed. They'll have lost the critical initial dialogue and left opponents salivating. If they fail to pass it, they're screwed, too, having broken a commitment of the past four elections. The Trumpcare debacle confirms the wisdom of the late Republican pollster Bob Teeter, who predicted a couple of decades ago that health care would be a loser for whichever political party owns it. (Albert R. Hunt, 3/15)

The Wall Street Journal: Three Criteria For Health Reform
Republicans have a historic opportunity to follow through on our promise to repeal ObamaCare. The recent elections that focused on the law’s repeal — 2010, 2014 and 2016 — were massive GOP victories. The American people gave our party unified control of the federal government, and a mandate for meaningful change. (Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Mark Meadows, (R-N.C.) 3/15)

The New York Times: Don’t Try To Fix Obamacare. Abolish It.
As Republicans in Washington grapple with altering the Affordable Care Act, they have proceeded in a direction that will do little to curb the cost of health care in America. Instead, they are pushing a bill that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, might save the government money, but will end coverage for 24 million people (though several million of those would be willingly giving up coverage the law now requires them to have). If it passes, Republicans will not only own the nation’s health care problems for years, but they will also have violated more than six years of promises. (Erik-Woods Erickson, 3/15)

JAMA Forum: Why Replacing The ACA Has Republicans In A Tizzy
Recently, President Trump correctly described health care policy making as “unbelievably complex”—although his comment that “nobody knew that” must have been a surprise to the many analysts and lawmakers who for decades have worked on health care reform. Health care policy making is technically complex, of course. But it is also complex in that the president and Republicans seeking to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) face very difficult political and philosophical choices. It was evident from the internal backlash to the recent Republican House committee bills that there is a deep divide among Republicans on these choices. (Stuart Butler, 3/15)

The Washington Post: How The AHCA Could Come To A Screeching Halt Tomorrow
Tomorrow the Republicans’ American Health Care Act goes to the Budget Committee. What looked like another rubber stamp for Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s and President Trump’s bill may instead mean the demise of the bill, at least this version of Republican health care. Moreover, a bombshell dropped in a meeting between Senate Republicans and the White House that would surely doom the AHCA. (Jennifer Rubin, 3/15)

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Tom Price Looks To Steady Wobbling Health Care Effort With Town Hall 
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price on Wednesday gave a full-throated defense of the House GOP’s health care overhaul, hours after Speaker Paul Ryan acknowledged changes would need to be made to save the embattled plan. The former Georgia congressman, who has become the face of the White House-backed bill, defended the legislation’s treatment of the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare to a cancer survivor who said his life was saved by the program. He voiced support for the bill’s reversal of an Affordable Care Act provision taxing health insurance CEOs and promised more choice and flexibility for Americans. (Tamar Hallerman, 3/15)

The New York Times: And Jesus Said Unto Paul Of Ryan ...
“Well, sure, this hospital would have a foundation to do some charity work. Maybe commissioning portraits of The Donald to hang in the entrance. But let’s drop this bleeding heart nonsense about health care as a human right, and see it as a financial opportunity to reward investors. In this partnership, 62 percent of the benefits would go to the top 0.6 percent — perfect for a health care plan.” Jesus turned to Pious Paul on his left and said: “Be gone! For I was hungry and you gave me no food; I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink; and I was sick, and you did not help me.” “But, Lord,” protested Pious Paul of Ryan, “when did I see you hungry or thirsty or sick and refuse to help you? I drop your name everywhere. And I’m pro-life!” “Truly, I say to you,” Jesus responded, “as you did not help the homeless, the sick — as you did not help the least of these, you did not help me. (Nicholas Kristof, 3/16)

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