KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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The Road To 50 Votes: Which Senators To Watch In Health Care Talks Over The Next Week

Republicans can only afford to lose two votes. In other news on the repeal-and-replace efforts: a national Democratic poll finds that the measure has 24 percent support; opponents in California go hard against it; Nevada's governor says the legislation's increased funding is a "false choice"; and more.

Bloomberg: Here Are The Senators To Watch On Obamacare Repeal
Senate Republican leaders are struggling to win support from holdouts in their party for what may be their last chance for a long time to pass a GOP-only repeal of Obamacare. The Senate needs to act by Sept. 30 to use a fast-track procedure to keep Democrats from blocking the proposal by Republicans Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana. But a cluster of GOP senators haven’t committed to the bill, which would send federal Obamacare money to the states in block grants to create their own health programs, cut funding to most states, and potentially let insurers charge sick people more. (Litvan, 9/22)

Bloomberg: GOP Pushes McCain To Back ‘Last Best Hope’ For Obamacare Repeal
Republicans are working to win Senator John McCain’s support for a likely vote next week on the GOP’s "last best hope" for repealing Obamacare, second-ranking Senate Republican John Cornyn said Thursday. “We’re doing everything we know how to do" to get the votes to pass the bill that would convert the Affordable Care Act into block grants to states, Cornyn said during a trip to Texas to survey damage from Hurricane Harvey. (Edgerton, 9/21)

The Associated Press: Iowa Sen. Ernst Hopes, But Isn't Sure, Health Bill Has Vote
Republican Sen. Joni Ernst said Thursday she isn't sure her party's last-ditch effort to repeal Barack Obama's health care law has the votes to pass, as she faced tough questions from Iowa constituents about the political drive for the measure. "If it's brought up, I hope we have the votes to pass it," Ernst told reporters after a meeting with constituents in northern Iowa. "I hope there's consensus on the bill." (Beaumont, 9/21)

Des Moines Register: Joni Ernst Is 'Leaning Yes' On Graham-Cassidy Health Care Bill
The Iowa Republican said so Thursday at a town meeting here dominated by the latest GOP plan currently under discussion to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and by broader concerns over the future of health care. Ernst appeared noncommittal on the bill until asked directly by an attendee more than halfway through the hour-long forum. (Noble, 9/21)

Politico Pro: Democratic Poll: Graham-Cassidy Bill Has 24 Percent Support
The first national poll on congressional Republicans latest health care bill finds the effort by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy to be just as unpopular as previous efforts, with only 24 percent of the public supporting the proposal in a survey from a left-leaning firm. The survey, from the Democratic automated polling firm Public Policy Polling, found 50 percent of registered voters disapprove of the law, which would repeal Obamacare and its expansion of Medicaid and replace it with fixed-cost block grants to states. (Robillard, 9/21)

Sacramento Bee: Health Care Protests Target California Republicans
Mass protests this week are targeting California’s 14 House Republicans, with activists seeking to pressure them to oppose the latest Republican Obamacare repeal proposal from Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana. California would be hardest hit state in the nation, with an estimated cut of $28 billion to its health care system by 2026, according to the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. (Hart, 9/21)

The Hill: Nevada GOP Gov Rips ObamaCare Repeal Bill: Flexibility It Promises 'A False Choice'
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) on Thursday amped up his criticism of the new plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare, saying the GOP bill would “pit Nevadans against each other.” “Flexibility with reduced funding is a false choice,” Sandoval said in a statement to The Nevada Independent. “I will not pit seniors, children, families, the mentally ill, the critically ill, hospitals, care providers, or any other Nevadan against each other because of cuts to Nevada’s healthcare delivery system proposed by the Graham-Cassidy amendment.” (Carter, 9/21)

New Orleans Times-Picayune: Many Louisiana Health Care Stakeholders Oppose Bill Cassidy's Plan
Louisiana organizations that represent hospitals, health clinics and retired people have all come out against U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy's proposal for replacing President Barack Obama's health care law, often referred to as Obamacare. They say Cassidy's proposal could jeopardize affordable health care coverage and make operations more difficult for hospitals and clinics around the state. (O'Donoghue, 9/21)

The Hill: CNN To Host Health-Care Debate With ObamaCare Repeal Sponsors
CNN will host a town hall-style debate Monday night where senators will face off over the new ObamaCare repeal bill. The network announced that Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), opponents of the bill, will debate its co-sponsors, Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). (Concha and Sullivan, 9/21)

The Hill: Medicaid Directors Issue Warning On New ObamaCare Repeal Bill
The National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD) warned Republicans on Thursday that the Senate's latest ObamaCare repeal bill would place a massive burden on states. The bill, sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), would eliminate ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion and subsidies beginning in 2020, converting the funding to state block grants. (Hellmann, 9/21)

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