KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Politics And Process: Did Graham-Cassidy Collapse Because It Left Millions Uninsured? Was Crafted Behind Closed Doors? Or Because It Shifted Money, Power Away From ‘The Swamp’?

Editorial writers offer harsh words and examinations of what caused the GOP's most recent repeal-and-replace effort to come undone.

The Washington Post: Why Republicans’ Latest Obamacare Repeal Attempt Was Doomed From The Start
Republicans’ health-care bill collapsed in the Senate Monday night in familiar fashion. Republicans tried to rush through an unpopular bill, largely crafted and edited behind closed doors, that would leave millions more uninsured than current law and that never had nor won the support of moderates and conservatives in their party. In the bill’s final days, changes were haphazardly slapped on that seem devised to attract votes rather than inspire confidence the legislation will improve health-care policy. (Amber Phillips, 9/25)

The New York Times: Trumpcare Is Dead. Long Live The Trumpcare Opposition.
It’s over. And it’s not over. The effort to take away health insurance from millions of people — known by the name it deserves, Trumpcare — seems to have failed again. The latest version, the Graham-Cassidy bill, looks doomed, with three Republican senators joining all 48 Democrats and independents in opposition. Three plus 48 equals 51, and 51 no votes equal defeat. (David Leonhardt, 9/25)

The Washington Post: Cassidy Is ‘Sorry’ About The Cassidy-Graham Process. He Should Be.
Maybe the Senate janitor’s closet was already booked? For Monday’s hearing on the Cassidy-Graham bill to repeal Obamacare — the one and only hearing scheduled on the measure — Republicans trying to hurry it through Congress gave every sign that they did not want to be noticed. Senate hearing rooms that could have fit hundreds were left idle Monday afternoon, and instead Republicans chose one that could fit just 30 members of the public, leaving hundreds waiting in the hall outside. Many reporters, too, were turned away — the better to avoid scrutiny. (Dana Milbank, 9/25)

The Wall Street Journal: Graham-Cassidy Vs. The Swamp
Whatever else it does, the health reform crafted by Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham shifts money and power out of Washington. And the swamp is not pleased. But as angry as Beltway inhabitants are to see this idea get a fair hearing, their reaction suggests that the substance of the bill isn’t all that bad. How else to explain their argument against it? (James Freeman, 9/25)

The Washington Post: ‘Reasonable’ Republicans Are Betraying Us, Too
President Trump clearly has no clue what’s happening on health care, taxes or really any other major policy front. He has also made abundantly clear that he has no interest in getting up to speed. Unfortunately, Trump’s unseriousness has become so grotesque, so all-consuming, that it has distracted us from dozens of other dilettantes and demagogues in Washington — far too many of them other members of Trump’s own political party. (Catherine Rampell, 9/25)

The Des Moines Register: Will Grassley Keep His Promise On Health Care?
Here we go again. The GOP has cobbled together another half-baked plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Sen. Chuck Grassley’s rationale on the legislation is beneath the long-serving member of Congress. “You know, I could maybe give you 10 reasons why this bill shouldn’t be considered,” Grassley said during a conference call with reporters last week. “But Republicans campaigned on this so often that you have a responsibility to carry out what you said in the campaign. That’s pretty much as much of a reason as the substance of the bill.” (9/25)

Detroit Free Press: GOP, Dems Should Compromise On Health Care Reform
Two decades ago, with Democrats and Republicans sharing equal numbers of seats in the Michigan House of Representatives, House leaders constructed a unique power-sharing arrangement. Committees were co-chaired by one Democrat and one Republican. Agreements were constructed where neither party would try to ram through its agenda if special circumstances, like a seat unexpectedly becoming vacant, served to tilt the delicate balance of power. (Daniel J. Loepp, 9/25)

Slate: The Most Cynical Republican On Obamacare
Few American politicians are as skilled at marketing the unmarketable as Vice President Mike Pence. As Senate Republicans these past weeks made a final push to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Pence entered full salesman mode, pitching the Graham-Cassidy bill in TV appearances as the GOP’s “last, best chance” at health care reform. The bill, Pence asserted, “will allow states to innovate and to create better quality health care” rather than comply with “a one-size-fits-all program in Washington, D.C.” No part of that claim is true, and Pence surely knows it. (Mark Joseph Stern, 9/26)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.