KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Republicans Shelve Bill But Vow ‘We Haven’t Given Up On Changing American Health Care System’

Less than 24 hours after Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) stated her official opposition to the legislation, Republicans admit defeat, for now. They're now planning to turn toward an overhaul of the tax code.

The New York Times: Senate Republicans Say They Will Not Vote On Health Bill
Senate Republicans on Tuesday officially abandoned the latest plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, shelving a showdown vote on the measure and effectively admitting defeat in their last-gasp drive to fulfill a core promise of President Trump and Republican lawmakers. The decision came less than 24 hours after a pivotal Republican senator, Susan Collins of Maine, declared her opposition to the repeal proposal, all but ensuring that Republican leaders would be short of the votes they needed. (Kaplan and Pear, 9/26)

The Associated Press: 'Obamacare' Survives; GOP Concedes On Last-Gasp Repeal Try
The repeal-and-replace bill's authors promised to try again at a later date, while President Donald Trump railed against "certain so-called Republicans" who opposed the GOP effort. But for now, Trump and fellow Republicans who vowed for seven years to abolish President Barack Obama's law will leave it standing and turn their attention to overhauling the nation's tax code instead. (Werner, 9/26)

The Wall Street Journal: Senate Scraps Vote On GOP Measure To Repeal Health Law
“We haven’t given up on changing the American health-care system,” Mr. McConnell (R., Ky.) told reporters on Tuesday. “We’re not going to be able to do it this week.” But for the moment, he said, “we plan to move forward on our next priority, which is reforming the American tax code in significant ways for the first time in 30 years.” (Peterson and Armour, 9/26)

The Hill: Senate Won't Vote On ObamaCare Repeal Bill 
"We don't have the votes so it's probably best we don't do the vote," said Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) after the GOP conference met at its regular weekly luncheon. "We've lost this battle, but we're going to win the war." (Bolton, 9/26)

Bloomberg: Demise Of Obamacare Repeal Shows How Far GOP Actually Remains From Goal 
Senator Susan Collins said Monday the bill would cause too many Americans to lose insurance, while Rand Paul said it preserved too many of the federal subsidies for health care -- even after the bill’s authors made a spate of last-minute changes to win them over. Their opposition followed John McCain’s declaration last week that it was too hasty and partisan, as the GOP raced to meet a Sept. 30 deadline. Their firm stances against it -- each for a very different reason -- underscore the difficulty Republicans face in trying to make dramatic changes to the 2010 Affordable Care Act. (Litvan and Tracer, 9/26)

Modern Healthcare: Senate Republicans Pull Plug For Now On Repeal Bill
"We have 50 votes for the substance (of the Graham-Cassidy bill) but not for the process," Graham said. "I'm confident that with a new process, hearings and regular order, we'll get 50 votes." Several Senate Republicans—including Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, who joined Collins and McCain in killing the previous GOP repeal bill in July—had not yet announced their position on the bill. (Meyer, 9/26)

The Washington Post: Senate GOP Abandons Latest Effort To Unwind The Affordable Care Act
The Senate leaders said they would turn their attention to their next major legislative undertaking. “Where we go from here is tax reform,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters after holding a closed-door policy lunch with members of his caucus. Republicans already are bracing for the political fallout from the measure proposed by Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (La.)., which McConnell had hoped to bring to a vote this week. They said the pressure to pass a tax overhaul bill was higher than ever and hoped the Republican base would give them a bit more time to take another shot at repealing the ACA. (Eilperin, Sullivan and Goldstein, 9/26)

The Hill: Trump Rips 'So-Called Republicans' Over ObamaCare Repeal 
President Trump on Tuesday said he was “disappointed” that some “so-called Republicans” were opposing the Senate's latest effort to repeal ObamaCare. “We were very disappointed by a couple of senators, Republican senators I must say, we were very disappointed that they would take the attitude that they did,” Trump told reporters. “But we are disappointed in certain so-called Republicans.” (Weixel, 9/26)

Roll Call: Pence Didn't Push On Health Care Vote
Vice President Mike Pence opted not to make a last-ditch pitch to Republican senators Tuesday to vote for the GOP’s latest health care bill. Instead, Republican senators leaving their weekly lunch at the Capitol said Pence instead focused on how Congress could provide disaster aid to U.S. territories devastated by a string of recent hurricanes, pivoting from one of the president’s central campaign promises. (Rahman, 9/26)

Roll Call: Senate Republicans Commence Health Care Blame Game
Frustration overtook Senate Republicans on Tuesday as the reality sunk in that they had failed again in fulfilling a seven-year campaign promise to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law. And senators were looking to cast blame wherever they could find it. (Williams, 9/26)

The Washington Post Fact Checker: Sen. Lindsey Graham’s Claim That 1996 Welfare Overhaul ‘Worked Like A Charm’
On Tuesday, Senate Republicans decided not to vote on the Cassidy-Graham bill, effectively halting (again) the GOP’s efforts to repeal Obamacare. In the process of debating the merits of the legislation, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) made assertions that we thought warranted a closer look. Graham held up the landmark shift in welfare policy in 1996 as an example of the federal government successfully turning an entitlement program over to states. The changes redirected the money spent on federal aid for low-income families to a block grant for the states, giving them flexibility on how to spend the money, so long as it went toward programs to reduce poverty. Graham said this shift in funding “worked like a charm.” (Lewis, 9/27)

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