KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

In This Edition:

From Kaiser Health News - Latest Stories:

Kaiser Health News Original Stories

Political Cartoon: 'Disarming?'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Disarming?'" by Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News.

Here's today's health policy haiku:


It is hard to know
How far the reach. … We’re in a
Medicaid nation.

If you have a health policy haiku to share, please Contact Us and let us know if you want us to include your name. Keep in mind that we give extra points if you link back to a KHN original story.

Summaries Of The News:

Health Law

With Clock Ticking, Senators Tweak Health Plan To Shift Money To Reluctant Senators' States

The changes would send money to Alaska and Maine, homes of Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins. Both women will be crucial if the Graham-Cassidy replacement bill is brought to the floor for a vote.

The New York Times: Senators Revise Health Bill In Last-Ditch Effort To Win Votes
With time running short, the authors of the latest plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act shifted money in the bill to Alaska and Maine, which are represented by Republican senators who appear reluctant to support it. The revised version of the bill, written by Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, would provide extra money for an unnamed “high-spending low-density state,” a last-minute change seemingly aimed at Alaska and its holdout Republican senator, Lisa Murkowski, who has yet to say how she will vote. It would also send money toward Maine, whose Republican senator, Susan Collins, had said earlier on Sunday that she would almost certainly vote no. (Pear and Kaplan, 9/24)

The Washington Post: A Closer Look At How The Revised Health Bill Would Benefit Key Senators’ States
The revised Republican health-care bill that senators plan to unveil Monday would partly even out wide gaps between states that would win and lose financially, providing more generous funding to states of some reluctant GOP lawmakers, but would give states less freedom to unwind federal health insurance rules. The new version of the Cassidy-Graham legislation eliminates what had been one of the measure’s most controversial features, which would have enabled states to get federal permission to let insurers charge higher prices to customers with preexisting medical conditions. In addition, states now would not be able to allow health plans to impose annual or lifetime limits on coverage, as the original bill would have done. (Goldstein and Eilperin, 9/25)

The Washington Post: New Version Of Health-Care Bill Will Help Alaska And Maine — Home Of Two Holdout Senators
The plan was distributed among Republicans late Sunday, with party leaders just one “no” vote away from defeat and as Republican senators from across the political spectrum were distancing themselves from the prior draft. Aides to Murkowski and Collins did not immediately comment late Sunday. Some Republicans close to the process have long counted Collins as an eventual “no,” predicting that little could be done to the bill to change her mind. On Sunday night, some were once again privately pessimistic the changes would convince her to vote yes. (Sullivan, Cunningham and Phillip, 9/24)

Politico: Graham, Cassidy Revise Obamacare Repeal Bill, Appealing To Holdouts
Under the revised text, the bill's authors now project increases in federal funding for Arizona (14 percent), Kentucky (4 percent) and Alaska (3 percent), which would have seen declines under the previous version, according to a leaked analysis from Trump's health department. In particular, Murkowski's home state would uniquely benefit from Sec. 129, which allows the state with the highest separate poverty guideline — Alaska — to receive a 25 percent hike in federal matching funds for Medicaid. (Pradhan and Diamond, 9/24)

The Wall Street Journal: GOP Health Push Hits More Snags
The bill by Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina would set “block grants” of federal funding for each state to use for health care, including the Medicaid program for the poor. The revised text of the bill gives states broad authority to make changes to coverage mandated under the ACA, and they no longer must seek a waiver to roll back some of those requirements, which was in the earlier text of the bill, health analysts reviewing the new bill said. (Radnofsky and Peterson, 9/24)

The Hill: GOP Changes Graham-Cassidy Bill To Win Over Wary Senators 
“Despite an attempt to appear to add money for a select few states, this bill is just as bad for those states and the rest of the states because it still contains a massive cut to Medicaid, and would throw our health insurance system into chaos while raising premiums," Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) said in a statement. "It still takes away protections for those with preexisting conditions and further weakens consumer protections." (Sullivan, 9/24)

Los Angeles Times: Senate Republicans Unsure What Their Healthcare Bill Would Do, Even As They Push Ahead On It
With a vote expected as soon as Wednesday, according to the White House, and backers still talking about potentially major changes, the legislation will get its first and only congressional hearing Monday afternoon. The independent Congressional Budget Office, which lawmakers rely on to assess major legislation, already has said it won’t have time to analyze the bill’s effect on health coverage and insurance premiums. “This is like legislating blind,” said University of North Carolina political scientist Jonathan Oberlander, who has written extensively on the history of major healthcare legislation.“It is really hard to find an example of something where Congress was this reckless.” (Levey, 9/25)

Bloomberg: GOP Revises Obamacare Repeal With Bill Headed To Likely Defeat
If Republicans can’t get the votes -- or decide to scrap this bill altogether -- it would mark another reminder of the party’s inability to deliver on seven years of promises to repeal the 2010 law. The GOP could still try to resurrect a proposal later in the year, but the repeal effort’s collapse would seed doubts about the party’s ability to deliver any significant legislative victories. (Litvan, Tracer and Dennis, 9/25)

The Hill: Republicans Struggle To Keep ObamaCare Repeal Alive
"It’s not dead,” Marc Short, the White House director of legislative affairs, told “Fox News Sunday." "Here we are, just days away from a final vote and we’ve trying to win over the support of the last couple senators to get there." Short added that he anticipated a vote on the healthcare legislation to come up on Wednesday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) hasn't formally scheduled a vote but said last week that he "intends" to bring up ObamaCare repeal. (Carney, 9/24)

CQ: Byrd Rule Issues Could Dampen Repeal Efforts
Congress has just a few days to act on the Republican health care repeal bill through the shortcut budget reconciliation process, but the bill’s abortion restrictions could create problems under those rules. The draft bill from Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Bill Cassidy, R- La.; Dean Heller, R-Nev.; and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., retains several of the anti-abortion provisions from previous efforts to repeal the 2010 health care law. Those include language defunding Planned Parenthood for one year and banning individuals from using tax credits to buy insurance that covers abortion. Both provisions were both deemed violations by the parliamentarian in July. (Raman, 9/22)

The Hill: Graham: Budget Resolution Must Keep ObamaCare Repeal Debate Alive 
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Sunday he would not vote for a budget resolution that did not allow the health care debate to continue. "We're not going to vote for a budget resolution that doesn't allow the health care debate to continue," Graham, who sits on the Senate Budget Committee, said on ABC's "This Week." (Carney and Manchester, 9/24)

The Hill: Graham Pushes Back On Working With Democrats On Health Care Reform
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday pushed back on the possibility of working with Democrats on heath care reform, saying ObamaCare is a placeholder for "BernieCare" for Democrats. “I’ve come to conclude that ObamaCare is a placeholder for BernieCare in the Democratic world," Graham said on ABC's "This Week," adding that there is no bipartisan process at this point for moving forward on health care reform. (Manchester, 9/24)

Rand Paul Gives GOP Glimmer Of Hope, But Chances Of Securing 50 Votes Still Dim

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) hasn't shut the door on negotiations with Senate leadership, but other lawmakers, such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), voice concerns which place more obstacles on the proposal's path to passage.

The Washington Post: Sen. Rand Paul Lays Out Demands On Health Care As Talks Continue
The embattled Republican effort to repeal the nation’s health-care law now centers on winning over a hard-line conservative, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who continues to engage with President Trump and Senate leaders, giving proponents of the latest GOP bill a glimmer of hope. While Paul remains wary of that proposal, he signaled Sunday that he is willing to consider a “narrow” version of the legislation, which would give states vast authority over money provided under the Affordable Care Act and waive many federal rules and regulations. (Costa, 9/24)

The Hill: Paul: Block Grants Can 'Set Up A Perpetual Food Fight' 
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has said he will vote against the GOP's latest ObamaCare repeal bill, said Sunday that converting health care funding into block grants to states sets up “a perpetual food fight.” “Well I’ve always been a yes for repeal but the bill, unfortunately the Graham-Cassidy, basically keeps most of the ObamaCare spending,” Paul told NBC’s “Meet the Press,” referencing the legislation Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) are pushing. (Shelbourne, 9/24)

Politico: Cruz Opposes Latest Obamacare Repeal Attempt
Sen. Ted Cruz on Sunday said he doesn’t support the latest Obamacare repeal plan, dealing a fresh blow to Republicans’ last-ditch effort to kill Barack Obama’s signature health care law. After seven years of promises to repeal Obamacare, Republicans have six days to pass legislation with a party-line vote. But with Cruz’s opposition, at least five Republicans in the 52-member caucus have signaled that they either won’t vote for or are leaning against supporting the Graham-Cassidy bill. (Rayasam and McCaskill, 9/24)

The Hill: Cruz: ObamaCare Repeal Bill Doesn't Have My Support Yet
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said on Sunday that he isn't yet ready to support the latest GOP effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare, increasing uncertainty that Republicans will be able to pass the legislation. "Right now they don't have my vote, and I don't think they have [Sen.] Mike Lee's [R-Utah] either," Cruz said at the Texas Tribune Festival. (Carney, 9/24)

CQ: Collins, Cruz Cast More Doubt On GOP Health Care Bill
Republicans face an uphill climb this week to overhaul the 2010 health care law before a crucial Saturday deadline, with two more senators suggesting Sunday that they oppose a last-ditch effort to follow through on a years-long promise. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said on CNN that it was "difficult to envision a scenario" where she would vote for the proposal Republicans are considering, while Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said at the Texas Tribune Festival that he does not currently support the plan. (McIntire, 9/24)

Boston Globe: Maine’s Susan Collins Weighs The Biggest Decision Of Her Career. No, It’s Not About Health Care
As the clock ticks down on September, all eyes are on Maine Senator Susan Collins, whose swing vote on the latest attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act in the coming days will have a major effect on whether the Republican legacy bill lives or dies. But it’s another, lesser-known decision Collins is weighing that could actually be the biggest of her career: whether to run for governor. (Pindell, 9/22)

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. Senator Susan Collins of Maine said Friday she’s leaning against the bill because among other things it undermines protection for people with pre-existing medical conditions, according to the Portland Press Herald. "The premiums would be so high they would be unaffordable," she said. (Litvan, 9/22)

Friendship With GOP Health Plan's Drafter Not Enough To Sway McCain

Some in the party were hopeful that Sen. John McCain's close friendship with the bill's author, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), would be enough to persuade the Arizona lawmaker to reverse his health care vote this time around But McCain said he could not "in good conscience" vote for the proposal.

The Associated Press: McCain's Moment: Ailing Senator Plays Spoiler Again For GOP
Longtime friends and advisers of Sen. John McCain say they're not surprised by his decision to oppose a last-ditch Republican effort to overhaul the nation's health care law. McCain objected to the legislation in part because Senate GOP leaders wanted a vote without holding hearings or debate. The Arizona senator has made a return to "regular order" in the Senate a priority since he came back to Congress following a cancer diagnosis. (Pace and Kellman, 9/25)

The New York Times: McCain Announces Opposition To Republican Health Bill, Likely Dooming It
For months, Mr. McCain has lamented a Senate legislative process that avoided hearings or formal bill-drafting procedures and excluded Democrats. On Friday, he said those tactics were intolerable. “We should not be content to pass health care legislation on a party-line basis, as Democrats did when they rammed Obamacare through Congress in 2009,’’ Mr. McCain said. “If we do so, our success could be as short-lived as theirs when the political winds shift, as they regularly do.’’ (Kaplan and Pear, 9/22)

The Wall Street Journal: McCain Says He Can’t Support Latest GOP Senate Health Bill
A defeat for Graham-Cassidy would be a blow for President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), who threw their support behind the last-ditch legislation just as it gained momentum that surprised even some Republicans. Mr. Trump has regularly criticized Republicans who oppose the party’s health-care efforts, including in a tweet Friday morning aimed at the holdout Mr. Paul. It could also be the death knell of the GOP’s seven-year quest to dismantle former President Barack Obama’s signature health law, often called Obamacare. (Armour and Peterson, 9/22)

Politico: Why McCain Screwed The GOP On Obamacare Repeal — Again
Not even 24 hours after John McCain dramatically tanked a Republican effort to repeal Obamacare in late July, his best friend, Lindsey Graham, started working feverishly in private to try again. Graham — who’s never shown much interest in health care policy — quietly trekked to the White House with Sen. Bill Cassidy to try and sell President Donald Trump on their latest proposal that would transform Obamacare into a block grant program for states. (Everett and Kim, 9/22)

Trump Blasts McCain, Puts Pressure On Wavering Senators

President Donald Trump is making a push for the Graham-Cassidy bill, focusing on those lawmakers who were on the fence this summer. "Eventually, we'll win," the president says.

The Associated Press: Trump Trying To Turn Around GOP Holdouts On Health Bill
Unwilling to concede defeat on a bedrock GOP promise, President Donald Trump on Saturday tried to sway two Republican holdouts on the party's last-ditch health care hope while clawing at his nemesis who again has brought the "Obamacare" repeal-and-replace effort to the brink of failure. Trump appealed to Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a possible "no" vote, to swing around for the sake of Alaskans up in arms over high insurance costs, and suggested that Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul might reverse his stated opposition "for the good of the Party!" (Lucey, 9/23)

The Wall Street Journal: Trump Applies Late Pressure To Senators In Health-Bill Push
“Large Block Grants to States is a good thing to do. Better control & management,” Mr. Trump tweeted Saturday. “Great for Arizona. McCain let his best friend L.G. down!” Mr. McCain was the second Republican to oppose the bill, following Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) On Friday Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) said she was leaning against the legislation. Mr. Trump said Saturday that he hoped to persuade Mr. Paul to change his mind. (Peterson, 9/23)

Bloomberg: Trump Names, Shames GOP Senators As Health Bill Hangs By Thread
Trump directed tweets at Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky and John McCain of Arizona. Both have said they’ll oppose the bill, meaning one more committed “no” will sink the legislation. “I know Rand Paul and I think he may find a way to get there for the good of the Party!” Trump told his 39 million followers. (Litvan and Dennis, 9/22)

The Hill: Trump Slams Democrats, McCain Over Health Care Bill 
President Trump on Saturday chided Democrats who praised Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) opposition to Senate Republicans' latest effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. "Democrats are laughingly saying that McCain had a 'moment of courage,'" he wrote on Twitter. "Tell that to the people of Arizona who were deceived. 116% increase!" (Greenwood. 9/23)

The Hill: Key Trump Aide: ObamaCare Repeal 'Not Dead' 
White House legislative affairs director Marc Short on Sunday insisted that the Republican effort to repeal ObamaCare is not dead, despite a lack of support from several key GOP senators. “No, Chris, it’s not dead,” Short told Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday" when asked if the legislation is doomed. (Shelbourne, 9/24)

The Hill: Trump On Health Care Plan: ‘Eventually We’ll Win’ 
President Trump on Sunday afternoon expressed optimism over a Republican-led effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Speaking to reporters on the tarmac of Morristown Municipal Airport in New Jersey, Trump took a jab at Republican leaders who have either come out against or expressed doubt over the latest GOP health-care bill. (Conradis, 9/24)

Cassidy Claims Coverage For Preexisting Conditions Is 'Absolutely The Same' But That's Not True

The Graham-Cassidy measure gives states flexibility, so some may not waive the protections. Others, however, might.

The Washington Post Fact Checker: Sen. Cassidy’s Misleading Claim That Preexisting-Conditions ‘Protection Is Absolutely The Same’
In the dispute between late-night host Jimmy Kimmel and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), one of the key authors of the long-shot GOP effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a key issue is whether the proposal maintains the ACA’s guarantee that people with preexisting condition can obtain health insurance. That has always been one of the most popular parts of Obamacare, and President Trump has insisted he would not sign a bill without such protections. He tweeted that this version of repeal — co-sponsored by Cassidy and Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) — contains such protections. (Kessler, 9/23)

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: PolitiFact: GOP Bill Weakens Protections For Pre-Existing Conditions
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), one of four co-sponsors of the latest GOP health care bill, says the bill will protect people with pre-existing conditions "every bit as well as Obamacare did." PolitiFact Wisconsin finds that, by allowing states to obtain waivers, insurers could be allowed to raise rates and reduce benefits for people with pre-existing medical conditions. (Kertscher, 9/22)

The Hill: Kimmel Consulted With Schumer On Health-Care Details: Report 
Comedian Jimmy Kimmel consulted with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer's (D-N.Y.) office on details surrounding the health-care debate, The Daily Beast reported Friday. Schumer's office "provided technical guidance and info about the bill, as well as stats from various think tanks and experts on the effects of" the legislation, a source told the outlet. (Manchester, 9/22)

Beyond Preexisting Conditions And Medicaid: How GOP Plan Would Affect Americans' Health Care

Media outlets take a look at how the Graham-Cassidy plan would alter the country's health care landscape.

NPR: Key Flash Points In The Health Care Overhaul Bill
If Senate Republicans vote to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act this week, it would affect the health care of pretty much every American. Here's a recap of four key flash points in the health overhaul debate with links to NPR coverage over the past six months, and our chart laying out how the Graham-Cassidy bill under consideration in the Senate addresses those issues compared with the Affordable Care Act. (Shute, 9/24)

Kaiser Health News: GOP Health Bill’s Changes Go Far Beyond Preexisting Conditions
The latest GOP effort to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act is getting a lot of attention, even if its passage seems unlikely. But there is far more to the measure than its changes to rules regarding preexisting health conditions. In fact, the bill proposed by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) would disrupt the existing health system more than any of the measures considered so far this year, according to supporters and critics. (Rovner, 9/22)

The New York Times: Three Ways The New Republican Health Bill Differs From Past Repeal Efforts
At first glance, the latest Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act might appear similar to earlier bills. It would repeal the individual mandate to purchase insurance and get rid of certain subsidies for out-of-pocket health expenses. But the measure has important differences from the three bills that failed to pass the Senate in July and the one that passed the House in May. (Park, 9/22)

It's Not Just Blue States That Will Be Hurt Under GOP Plan -- Trump Country Would Take Hit Too

Of the 30 states Donald Trump carried in his presidential victory, 16 would lose federal health care money under the bill to dismantle Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. But California will be one of the states that's hurt the most. Media outlets take a look at the impact in Texas, Washington, New Hampshire and Connecticut as well.

The Associated Press: Memo To GOP: Red States Also Among Losers In Health Bill
Memo to Republican senators: Many of the states President Donald Trump won last year would lose significant federal financing under the last-ditch Republican health care bill headed for a possible showdown in the Senate this week. Among states expected to lose are Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, and Ohio, where cuts could swell the number of uninsured people. That has political implications for Republicans girding for congressional midterm elections next year, as well as for the next presidential race in 2020. That year is when the biggest spending reductions from the legislation by GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy would start taking effect. (Alonso-Zaldivar, 9/25)

Los Angeles Times: California Would Take Biggest Hit Under Senate Republicans' Latest Obamacare Repeal Plan
California, which has used the Affordable Care Act to extend health protections to millions of its residents and cut in half the number of people without health insurance, stands to lose more than any other state under the latest Republican plan to roll back the 2010 law. The GOP plan, which Senate leaders want to bring to a vote this week, would slash more than $100 billion in federal funding for the state over the next decade and tens of billions more in the years that follow. (Levey, 9/24)

Kaiser Health News: A Tale Of Two States: California, Texas And The Latest ACA Repeal Bid
The GOP’s latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act wobbled on Friday as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said he could not support it. But the bill known as Graham-Cassidy isn’t dead yet. And whatever its fate, the long-held Republican goal it embodies — to fundamentally change how the government funds Medicaid — will survive. Graham-Cassidy would dramatically redistribute federal funds to states. And, generally, states that expanded Medicaid — like California — stand to lose billions of dollars as that money is doled out to states that didn’t — like Texas. (Dembosky and Lopez, 9/22)

Bloomberg: At Least 21 Million Would Lose Coverage In GOP Bill, Brookings Says
At least 21 million fewer Americans would have health-care coverage from 2020 to 2026 under the Senate Republicans’ latest plan to repeal and replace parts of Obamacare, according to an estimate by the Brookings Institution. The number “likely underestimates the reductions in insurance coverage” because it doesn’t take into account difficulties states may face setting up their own health systems, said the nonprofit policy group, which has been supportive of the Affordable Care Act. (Edney, 9/22)

Seattle Times: Washington State Would Lose $10B Through 2026 With Latest Obamacare Repeal Plan, Study Says
The billions of dollars in cuts to Medicaid proposed in Senate Republicans’ latest and perhaps final attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act would be devastating to children across Washington, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell said Friday. Named after its lead sponsors, Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, the repeal bill would end the ACA’s Medi­caid expansion, which has provided insurance to about 600,000 people in Washington. It would also end the federal subsidies that help people buy private insurance. (Gutman, 9/22)

Concord Monitor: HHS Head: GOP Health Bill Could Result In $820M N.H. Medicaid Cut
New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers predicted a sharp financial toll on the state’s Medicaid program if the federal Graham-Cassidy health care bill passes, and warned of funding shortages that could result from the bill’s block grant system. Speaking at a Monitor editorial board meeting Wednesday, Meyers said that the proposed legislation could cause a loss of about $820 million in Medicaid funding between 2020 and 2026, citing calculations made by his office. (DeWitt, 9/23)

Detroit Free Press: Opponents Gather In Detroit To Oppose Latest Obamacare Repeal Attempt
The bill would also end the Medicaid expansion that 31 states, including Michigan, and Washington, D.C., took advantage of under Obamacare and overhaul the funding for traditional Medicaid. In Michigan, more than 670,000 people signed up for the Medicaid expansion program. “The current bill will be devastating for patients and Michiganders who are finally getting health care they need and deserve,” said Wright Lassiter, president and CEO of the Henry Ford Health System. (Gray, 9/22)

Graham-Cassidy Bill Did What Other GOP Attempts Didn't: Unified Industry Opposition

Criticisms of the bill from insurers, medical groups and hospital go beyond ideological or political differences. These organizations really think it just won't work.

The New York Times: Why The Latest Health Bill Is Teetering: It Might Not Work
Health insurers, who had been strangely quiet for much of the year, came off the sidelines to criticize it. Many state Medicaid directors could not stomach it, either. For months now, proposals to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act have risen and fallen in the House and the Senate, almost always uniting health care providers and patient advocacy groups in opposition but winning support among conservatives, including Republican policy makers. But the version drafted by Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana — and hastily brought into the spotlight last week — went further. (Stolberg and Pear, 9/23)

The Washington Post: Here’s A List Of Medical Groups Opposing The Cassidy-Graham Health-Care Bill
One factor in the bill's apparent (although not yet certain) demise: Cassidy-Graham has mobilized nearly the entire American health-care community in opposition. Dozens of national advocacy groups representing patients, doctors, insurers and hospitals have issued strongly worded condemnations of the proposal. The American Medical Association warns it violates doctors' oath to “first do no harm.” Kaiser Permanente says that any changes to health-care law should “increase access to high-quality, affordable care and coverage for as many people as possible” and that “the Cassidy-Graham bill does not meet any of those tests.” (Ingraham, 9/22)

The Hill: Medical Groups Urge Lawmakers To Reject Graham-Cassidy Bill 
Leading medical associations are calling on lawmakers to reject Republicans' latest attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. In a statement issued Saturday, several doctor and hospital trade groups, including the American Medical Association and the Federation of American Hospitals said that the bill introduced by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) ultimately falls short of key benchmarks, weakening patient protections and the individual insurance market. (Greenwood, 9/23)

Bloomberg: Hospitals, Insurers Rise As McCain Opposes GOP Obamacare Repeal
Hospital and health insurance stocks moved upward Friday after Republican Senator John McCain said he would withhold his vote from a GOP proposal to repeal much of Obamacare, potentially dooming efforts to bring the measure to the floor. The Republican proposal would cut planned federal spending on health care by $215 billion through 2026, according to consulting firm Avalere Health. It would also end a requirement that all Americans have insurance coverage. Both policies helped expand insurance coverage to millions of Americans, providing insurers with more clients and hospitals with more paying customers. (Rausch, 9/22)

Meanwhile, Americans are also voicing their opposition to the measure —

The Hill: Poll: Americans Favor ObamaCare To Graham-Cassidy 
Americans favor ObamaCare to the Graham-Cassidy health-care legislation by more than 20 points, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll. Fifty-six percent of Americans surveyed said they preferred the current health-care law to the latest repeal-and-replace legislation put forth by Senate Republicans, while only 33 percent of those polled said they supported the new legislation. (Manchester, 9/22)

What's With All The Zeal To Resurrect Repeal Efforts? Some Hint At Backlash From GOP Donors

Sources say Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, who is in charge of his party’s midterm re-election push, warned about the impact to the party's coffers if lawmakers fail to make movement on their major promises.

The New York Times: Behind New Obamacare Repeal Vote: ‘Furious’ G.O.P. Donors
As more than 40 subdued Republican senators lunched on Chick-fil-A at a closed-door session last week, Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado painted a dire picture for his colleagues. Campaign fund-raising was drying up, he said, because of widespread disappointment among donors over the inability of the Republican Senate to repeal the Affordable Care Act or do much of anything else. Mr. Gardner is in charge of his party’s midterm re-election push, and he warned that donors of all stripes were refusing to contribute another penny until the struggling majority produced some concrete results. (Hulse, 9/22)

The Hill: GOP Senator: Repealing ObamaCare 'Has Nothing To Do With Politics'
Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) said Sunday the GOP push to get an ObamaCare repeal bill passed has nothing to do with politics. "This has nothing to do with politics. It has nothing to do with donors." Gardner said on CBS's "Face The Nation," when asked about whether there was a rush to pass the ObamaCare repeal bill for political and not substantive reasons. (Savransky, 9/24)

Administration News

Private Jets For Tom Price Grounded While Inspector General Investigates Travel Spending

“We’ve heard the criticism. We’ve heard the concerns. We take that very seriously and have taken it to heart,” says Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price about reports that he has spent $300,000 on private airplanes for government travel.

The Associated Press: Investigators Reviewing HHS Chief's Private Charter Flights
Federal investigators are examining Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price's recent use of costly charter flights on the taxpayers' dime for official business. The HHS inspector general's office said Friday the agency is reviewing Price's charters to see if they violated government travel regulations, which generally require officials to minimize costs. (Alonso-Zaldivar, 9/22)

Politico: Trump: 'We're Looking Into' Price's Use Of Private Planes
President Donald Trump on Sunday said his administration is looking into Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price's use of private planes during his tenure in the Cabinet." As far as Secretary Price is concerned, that’s different. We’re looking into it," Trump told reporters in Washington, according to a pool report. He was answering a question that also pertained to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. (Griffiths, 9/24)

The Hill: Price Halts Use Of Private Jets During Investigations
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price will cease using private charter jets to travel around the country in the midst of an investigation from the HHS Inspector General office on his travel expenditures. “We’ve heard the criticism. We’ve heard the concerns. We take that very seriously and have taken it to heart,” Price told Fox News Saturday.  “I don’t think there will be any charter trips until this review is complete. I think that’s appropriate because of the concerns that we’ve heard.” (Bowden, 9/23)

Politico: Tom Price To Halt Taxpayer-Funded Travel On Private Jets
Price continued to take charter jets after a POLITICO investigation identified that the HHS secretary had been chartering private planes to conduct official business for months. The cost of his trips this past week was $56,500, according to a federal contract. (Diamond, 9/23)

The Hill: HHS Employees Had To Watch Video About Dangers Of Leaking Information: Report 
Employees at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) were reportedly required to watch a 31 minute video on the dangers of leaking information as a part of training session aimed at combating leaks within the department. The video, which is dubbed "Insider Threat," is narrated by the HHS Assistant Secretary for Administration John Bardis, according to BuzzFeed News. (Manchester, 9/22)

CQ: HHS Inspector General Reviewing Price's Travel
The inspector general of the Health and Human Services Department said Friday it will investigate the expensive use of private planes by department Secretary Tom Price. Democratic lawmakers requested that the inspector general look into Price’s use of private aircraft to travel the country for meetings, which has cost taxpayers at least $300,000 in recent months, according to reporting by Politico, which broke the news of Price’s travels. (Siddons, 9/22)

POLITICO Pro: New Details Cast Doubt On Why Tom Price Needed A Private Jet
HHS Secretary Tom Price has been taking private jets because an unreliable commercial flight once forced him to cancel an important meeting, an HHS spokesperson says, part of his agenda to meet with average Americans outside of Washington. But the flight in question — to a two-day industry conference at a Ritz-Carlton hotel in southern California — didn't get off the ground on a day when storms virtually shut down air traffic in the Washington region, preventing even private jets from getting out. (Diamond, 9/22)

Administration To Shut Down ACA Enrollment Website For 12 Hours On Most Sundays

The administration, which has come under fire from supporters of the Affordable Care Act, who say it is taking intentional steps to undermine the law’s performance, says the outages are for maintenance purposes.

The Wall Street Journal: Healthcare.Gov To Shut Down During Parts Of Enrollment Period For Maintenance
The Trump administration plans to shut down, a website consumers use to sign up for the Affordable Care Act, for 12 hours on nearly every Sunday of the coming ACA enrollment season. The outages, which the administration says are for maintenance, will occur from midnight through noon on every Sunday other than Dec. 10. This year’s enrollment season, which the administration has shortened to half the length of previous years, will run from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15 for states that use the federal marketplace. (Hackman, 9/23)

The Hill: HHS Plans Hours-Long Shutdowns Of ObamaCare Site During Enrollment Period 
A spokesperson for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said the maintenance periods were planned ahead of time. “Maintenance outages are regularly scheduled on every year during open enrollment. This year is no different,” the spokesperson said. “The maintenance schedule was provided in advance this year in order to accommodate requests from certified application assisters. (Carter, 9/22)

Coverage And Access

Sanders Champions Single-Player Plan To Receptive California Crowd: 'We're Going To Win This Fight'

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) also slammed the Republicans' efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. California gubernatorial candidate and current Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom calls on the state's Legislature to move its single-payer bill along.

The Associated Press: Sanders Slams GOP, Touts Universal Health Care In California
Sen. Bernie Sanders pilloried Republican efforts to overhaul the health care system and touted his own Medicare for all plan Friday before an effusive California audience that welcomed him on stage with chants of "Run, Bernie, Run!" Sanders' speech to the influential California nurses' union in San Francisco came shortly after Republican Sen. John McCain announced he would vote "no" on the latest GOP effort to roll back President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law. Sanders praised McCain for following his conscience, but he said the fight to preserve — and expand — access to health care is far from over. (9/22)

KQED: Is Single Payer Becoming A Litmus Test For Democrats?
Single-payer health care has long been the goal of progressive Democrats in California. In 2006 and 2008, the Legislature passed bills to create such a system here, but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed both of them. This time around, the nurses union seems intent on not letting this moment slip away. (Shafer, 9/22)

Boston Globe: Bernie Sanders Wants Single-Payer. So Why Is He Going To Defend The ACA On TV?
After the Senate’s Republican majority failed again to repeal the ACA in July, Sanders seemed to think it was time to move on, proposing a single-payer health care system that he had championed during the presidential primaries. But on Monday, Sanders will be back defending the ACA — this time in a live CNN debate against South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy, the architects of the latest version of a Republican health care bill. (Jacobs, 9/22)

Sacramento Bee: Gavin Newsom Endorses Senate Bill 562
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom challenged California’s Democratic-run Legislature to pass sweeping universal, government-run health care next year, pledging that if the bill stalls again, he will make it a priority regardless of what happens in Washington. (Cadelago and Hart, 9/22)

San Jose Mercury News: Gavin Newsom: "Time To Move" California Single-Payer Bill
“It’s time to move 562 along,” he said to cheers and a standing ovation at the California Nurses Association conference in San Francisco. “It’s time to do that now.” While he didn’t explicitly endorse the bill in its current form, Newsom articulated his strongest support for it so far and vowed a “firm and absolute commitment” to pass universal health care if he’s elected governor next year. “No one is saying it’s perfect or complete, but that’s not the point. That’s what the legislative process is all about,” he said. (Tolan, 9/22)


Time Quickly Ticking On Funding For Children's Health Care As Hill Focuses On ACA Instead

The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which has bipartisan support, has been shelved behind the GOP effort to replace the Affordable Care Act. But federal funding will begin to dry up Oct. 1 and states are warning lawmakers they will need funds quickly.

CQ: As Congress Flounders, Millions of Kids Risk Losing Insurance
Minnesota officials knew they would exhaust Children’s Health Insurance Program money by the end of this year. Then they discovered the news was worse: The state would likely be out of money for coverage of low-income children and pregnant women by the end of September. And it became increasingly clear that Congress was probably not going to meet a deadline to help. The state will have “to take extraordinary measures to ensure that coverage continues beyond October 1, 2017, if Congress does not act,” warned Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper in a Sept. 13 letter pleading with lawmakers for “urgent” action. Minnesota is the first state to hit a funding crisis but others are on the cusp. (Adams, 9/25)

Modern Healthcare: A Battle For Children's Health Coverage On Two Fronts
As Sept. 30 approaches, pediatric providers are grappling with the potential loss of funding for two programs responsible for huge gains in health insurance coverage for children. Combined, the Children's Health Insurance Program and Medicaid, both of which provide health coverage to uninsured children in families that can't afford it elsewhere, cover an estimated 46 million children. (Livingston, 9/22)

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Key Health Programs At Risk Of Lapsing As Obamacare Repeal Dominates D.C. Debate
Nearly one hundred and fifty million dollars to keep Georgia hospitals’ indigent care afloat. Funding for the PeachCare program that along with Medicaid covers about half of Georgia’s kids. ... Those are some things that Congress has not taken care of — or even, in some cases, clarified its position on — as deadlines and expirations approach at the end of September. (Hallerman, 9/23)


As Heat Rose In Fla. Nursing Home, Staff Asked For Help But Few Understood The Emergency

Florida officials say they didn't have any indication from the nursing home where 11 people would die that residents were in distress. But records show that phone calls went out to the power company, the governor and local officials and a facility that shared the building reported that the conditions were “adversely affecting patients,” according to The New York Times.

The New York Times: At Florida Nursing Home, Many Calls For Help, But None That Made A Difference
The emergency room workers at Memorial Regional Hospital rushed the first patient to Room 9, which was devoted to the hope and practice of arresting death. They threaded fluid lines into her veins and readied a breathing tube. Even through gloves, they could feel the heat corseting the 84-year-old woman’s body. As they prepared to insert a catheter, they saw what looked like steam rising from her legs. (Gabler, Fink and Yee, 9/23)

Forbes: How Trumpcare's Medicaid Block Grants Hurt Hurricane Victims
The Republican-led Senate proposal to give each state a fixed block grant of federal money to pay for Medicaid coverage for poor Americans doesn’t account for “increased financial stress” states face during economic downturns and natural disasters, insurers and governors opposed to the legislation say. ... But Graham-Cassidy’s block grants “do not accommodate the counter cyclical nature of Medicaid and the inability of states to shoulder increased financial stress during economic downturns,” Medicaid Health Plans Of America CEO Jeff Myers wrote Sen. Cassidy last week. MHPA members include Aetna, Centene, Cigna and UnitedHealth Group. (Japsen, 9/24)

Public Health And Education

Despite Flu Vaccine's Possible Link To Miscarriage, Experts Implore Pregnant Women To Still Get The Shot

While scientists look into the potential link, experts also say it is still very important for women to protect themselves and their babies from the flu. In other public health news: tetanus and other world health problems; mosquitoes; Zika; brain injuries and violence; restrictions on blood donors; and a quadruplet-success story.

NPR: A Flu Shot Is Still 'Essential' For Pregnant Women, Obstetricians Say
Flu symptoms can be more severe when you're pregnant, landing women in the hospital, threatening their lives and even leading to preterm birth or miscarriage. The virus is a risk to the woman and the baby. So, it's particularly important that people who are pregnant get the flu vaccine. And it's also important that the effects of those vaccines be studied in pregnant women. (Hersher, 9/25)

The New York Times: World Health Officials Describe Progress Against Tetanus, H.I.V. And Malaria
Infant and maternal tetanus was officially eliminated from the Americas this year, the Pan American Health Organization announced on Thursday. At one time, the infection killed about 10,000 newborns annually in the Western Hemisphere; tetanus still kills about 35,000 infants around the world. It was one of several significant global health advances, including new programs against malaria and H.I.V., announced last week in conjunction with the meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. (McNeil, 9/22)

Los Angeles Times: Mosquitoes Spread Deadly Diseases, And Public Health Experts Hope To Fight Back With This New Emoji
Mosquitoes are more than a spoiler of backyard barbecues. They threaten more than half the world’s population with their disease-spreading bites. In fact, mosquitoes are deadlier — by far — than sharks and snakes. They are the incubator and chief disseminator of malaria, dengue and yellow fevers, as well as newer scourges like the West Nile and Zika viruses. Their numbers explode with floods, hurricanes and climate change, allowing them to outnumber every animal on Earth during their peak breeding season. Public-health officials fret about them 24/7. (Healy, 9/22)

Tampa Bay Times: Whatever Happened To The Zika Epidemic?
The state Health Department counts only 180 Zika infections in Florida so far in 2017, on track to come in well below the 1,456 cases reported all of last year. The vast majority are travel-related cases brought to Florida by people who came from somewhere else, like Zika hotbed areas in Central and South America or the Caribbean, already infected with the virus. (Griffin, 9/25)

The New York Times: Movie’s Ads Protest Rules Restricting Gay Men From Donating Blood
The last “Saw” movie, released by Lionsgate in 2010, was advertised as “the final chapter.” But you didn’t think a franchise with roughly $1 billion in worldwide ticket sales was going to die that easily, did you? In true horror film fashion, the series will resume its torture killings on Oct. 27 with an R-rated eighth installment titled “Jigsaw.”Less expected: Lionsgate’s decision to promote “Jigsaw” by shaking an angry fist at America’s blood-donation regulations. (Barnes, 9/24)

State Watch

State Highlights: Nurses At Mass. Hospital Plan One-Day Strike; Calif. Free Health Clinic Draws 1,500 Patients

Media outlets report on news from Massachusetts, California, Missouri, Maryland and Virginia.

Boston Globe: Nurses At Pittsfield Hospital Plan One-Day Strike
The Massachusetts Nurses Association is planning its third labor strike of the year, this time at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield. The union, which represents about 800 nurses at Berkshire, said Friday that it would stage a one-day strike on Oct. 3 to protest what it calls unfair labor practices. (Dayal McCluskey, 9/22)

Sacramento Bee: Free Health Clinic Draws 1,500 People
While the number of uninsured Californians has decreased from 8.6 percent to 7.3 percent in 2016, according to U.S. Census figures, millions still can’t afford health insurance or the costly copayments and deductibles that come with their policies. At the California CareForce clinic, about half reported having no insurance, 20 percent said their insurance didn’t cover their needs and 10 percent were insured but couldn’t afford the cost of their deductible. (Sullivan, 9/24)

Los Angeles Times: Head Of L.A. County's Health System, One Of The Largest In The Country, Announces Departure
Dr. Mitchell Katz, tapped by Los Angeles County seven years ago to lead the nation’s second-largest public healthcare system out of a period of instability and mismanagement, has announced he will leave his post at the end of the year. Katz oversees the county’s Health Agency, the umbrella health organization with a budget of approximately $8 billion and 32,000 employees. He will return to his native New York to take care of his two elderly parents and to become chief executive of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp., which operates the city’s public hospitals, clinics and nursing homes. (Agrawal, 9/23)

Los Angeles Times: West Nile Virus Has Killed 8 Californians This Year. In Parts Of L.A. County, The Risk Is Especially High
Julie Shepherd ended up in the hospital earlier this month after her neighbor found her on the floor of her West Covina home, unable to move. Shepherd, 84, was paralyzed and had lost the ability to speak. Doctors diagnosed her illness as West Nile virus. Humans contract the virus through a mosquito bite. There’s no vaccine or cure for the disease, so Shepherd’s family could only wait to see if she recovered on her own. (Karlamangla, 9/23)

CQ: Planned Parenthood Asks Court to Block Missouri Abortion Law
A Planned Parenthood group asked the Supreme Court on Friday to reverse a lower court ruling that it says would allow Missouri to enforce requirements that would keep three of the state's five abortion clinics shuttered. Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood Great Plains and others, in an application to the Supreme Court, wrote that it obtained a preliminary injunction against the requirements: abortion providers must have admitting privileges with a local hospital, and be licensed as ambulatory surgical centers. (Ruger, 9/22)

USA Today: White House, Congress Could Take Helicopter To Walter Reed If Approved
A disagreement between the state of Maryland and the federal government is preventing the use of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center as a Washington-area trauma center, eliminating the potential for an alternative to the troubled MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Maryland emergency services officials quietly rebuffed Walter Reed's proposal in July to start treating civilian trauma patients, citing the needs of nearby civilian hospitals, although local emergency rooms are overcrowded and the area has a higher-than-usual risk of terrorist attacks. (9/24)

The Baltimore Sun: Yumi Hogan Launches Art Therapy Program At UM Children's Hospital
[Artist-in-residence Marty] Weishaar was hired this summer as the University of Maryland hospital’s first artist in residence with funding from the Yumi C.A.R.E.S. Foundation, a nonprofit started by Maryland first lady Yumi Hogan. An artist who has made art therapy her key issue, Hogan has sold her own paintings at fundraisers to benefit art therapy programs. She started the program at the children’s hospital, because her husband, Gov. Larry Hogan, was treated for non-Hodgkins lymphoma at the medical system shortly after taking office in 2015. During his stay, the Hogans were inspired by pediatric patients and their families who showed “optimism and positive energy,” despite dealing with grave illnesses, Yumi Hogan said via e-mail. (McDaniels, 9/25)

Editorials And Opinions

Parsing The Plan: Graham-Cassidy Is A 'Horror' And 'Legislative Malpractice'

In between what appears to be a tendency among editorial writers to give the GOP repeal-and-replace plan a grim review, one writer offers a defense.

The Washington Post: Avoiding A Health-Care Horror
It is difficult to decide which is the worst aspect of the Republicans’ latest try at repealing Obamacare: the irresponsibility, the cruelty or the lies. And it is impossible to ignore that the climax of this battle will take place under the shadow of President Trump’s shameful, racially charged attacks on prominent African American athletes. Once again, Trump has demonstrated his lack of seriousness about the responsibilities of his office, his autocratic habit of demonizing dissent, and his willingness to play racial politics to divide and distract. (E.J. Dionne Jr., 9/24)

The New York Times: The Health Care Cul-De-Sac
Before John McCain put yet another Republican health care plan on life support on Friday, I was going to do with the Graham-Cassidy legislation what I’ve done with previous Republican bills, and weigh the plausible ideas that it contains against its hastily rigged-up architecture and predictable G.O.P. stinginess. But sometimes, when a party has spent most of a year producing health care bills that excite almost nobody and that even the senators voting for them can’t effectively defend, it’s worth stepping back and thinking about our national priorities. (Ross Douthat, 9/23)

The New York Times: One Way For G.O.P. To Achieve Some Repeal Goals? It’s Already Part Of Obamacare
On Friday, Senator John McCain of Arizona announced that he would not support the latest Republican push to overhaul the health care system. He didn’t disapprove of the objectives of the bill, but to its process, which was too rushed and partisan, he said in a statement: “A bill of this impact requires a bipartisan approach. ”Mr. McCain’s vote most likely dooms the current Obamacare repeal effort, which can afford to lose the votes of only two Republican senators. (Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and Senator Susan Collins of Maine are generally regarded as no votes as well.) But there is, in fact, a bipartisan effort that could help Congress achieve many of the goals that the recent bill’s authors say they hope to accomplish. The catch: It would be hard for Republicans to call it Obamacare repeal. (Margot Sanger-Katz, 9/23)

Los Angeles Times: GOP Health Bill: Whatever Happened To Expertise?
A long list of healthcare experts says the Republican bill to dismantle most of President Obama’s health insurance program would be a disaster. The American Medical Assn. is against it. Insurance providers are against it. Patient groups are against it. Sen. Bill Cassidy’s bill, coauthored with Sen. Lindsey Graham, would cut federal spending on Medicaid by amounts one consultant called “jaw-dropping.” If the bill passes, 21 million fewer people would have health insurance in 2026 than under current law, according to a study by the Brookings Institution and USC. To which Cassidy says, in effect: Pay no attention to the experts. (Doyle McManus, 9/24)

Roll Call: Another Health Care Bill, Another Health Care Biff
Maybe we have finally established a lasting legislative principle for both parties: Don’t ever again try to pass major health care legislation using parliamentary gimmicks to avoid a filibuster. The Democrats, under Barack Obama, followed this route in 2010 after they lost their filibuster-proof Senate majority when Republican Scott Brown unexpectedly won the special election to fill Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat. As a result, final tinkering and technical improvements could not be made in the Obamacare legislation using a House-Senate conference. What the Senate Republicans have been attempting is far worse. (Walter Shapiro, 9/25)

Forbes: Ten Reasons Why Every State Should Welcome The Graham/Cassidy/Heller/Johnson Health Reform Bill
Three states – California, New York and Massachusetts -- are receiving 37 percent of all Obamacare funds , according to a group of Republican senators. As an example of this inequity, Pennsylvania has nearly twice the population of Massachusetts, but it receives less than half as much Obamacare money. The senators propose to radically change that distribution by giving each state Obamacare funds in the form of a block grant. Eventually, each state’s share of the total would equal its share of the country’s poor and near-poor population. That means the people who are the principal target of Obamacare funding will have access to the same federal resources – regardless of where they live. (John C. Goodman, 9/18)

The Washington Post: The Real Reason Health Care In America Is A Mess
Until Donald Trump briefly applied himself to the subject, “nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.” President Van Winkle said this in February 2017. The wonder of discovery is a delight to behold no matter how late in life it awakens. In fact, everyone with a chronic disease in the United States knows health care is complicated. Rich or poor, young or old, their illnesses open their eyes to the fact that the so-called health-care industry, which amounts to roughly one-sixth of the U.S. economy, is not an industry at all. It is a chaotic crossroads of many different industries and professions, often in fierce competition, each adapted to its own culture and pursuing its own business model. (David Von Drehle, 9/23)

USA Today: Trump Voter Who Survived Cancer: Graham-Cassidy Health Bill Worst By Far
The last Democrat I voted for was Jimmy Carter. The last Republican I voted for was Donald Trump. After the past eight months, I am now a health care voter. My story, and my family’s story, is like so many others. In 2008, after a 20-year career in health care, I became another statistic in the number of uninsured Americans and no longer had a job or employer-provided health care. I had followed the American dream and started my own small business. I am a barber in Tennessee and I love it. I was able to get insurance through my wife’s job. (Dennis Wallace, 9/25)

The Washington Post: McCain Shows How Pathetic His GOP Colleagues Are
At a rally for Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.) on Friday night, President Trump claimed Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) decision to vote no on the Cassidy-Graham health-care bill was “an unexpected thing.” If so, Trump is oblivious and his legislative liaisons are rotten at their jobs. McCain’s decision was unexpected only if one hadn’t been paying attention or hadn’t taken him seriously when he nixed the prior version of Trumpcare. (Jennifer Rubin, 9/24)

Perspectives On Single-Payer: Is It A Pipe Dream Or Is The GOP Repeal-And-Replace Plan Priming The Pump?

Editorials from a variety of news outlets offer different thoughts on the current single-payer health plan being advanced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and whether it is picking up momentum.

New York Magazine: How Graham-Cassidy Would Make Single-Payer More Likely
Perhaps the oddest thing about the last-ditch Republican plan to repeal Obamacare is that it is being sold not as a repeal of Obamacare — which is popular — but instead as a rebuke to a law that does not yet exist. “If you want a single-payer health-care system, this is your worst nightmare,” Lindsey Graham has boasted of his plan. “Hell no to Berniecare.” Graham’s weird promise that his plan “ends single-payer health care” has somehow taken hold, to the point where Republicans appear to believe it would foreclose even public debate on left-wing alternatives. The bill “stops us from having conversation in the future about Medicare for all,” claims Senator Tim Scott. (Jonathan Chait, 9/19)

USA Today: Focus On Obamacare, Not Single-Payer Pipe Dreams
Democrats have long suffered from an inability to present messages that are simple, appealing and understandable. That is one of the biggest reasons Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has had so much success. In his overly simplistic world, there is virtually no problem of economics or federal spending that isn’t the consequence of the rich getting richer and that can’t be addressed with higher taxes. (9/25)

USA Today: Time Is Ripe For Medicare For All
We now have the most wasteful, inefficient and bureaucratic health care system in the world. In fact, we are spending almost twice as much per capita as any other country, while our health care outcomes are often worse. Instead of providing quality care to all in a cost-effective way, our current system is designed to provide hundreds of billions in profits to insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry and medical equipment suppliers. Moving to a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system would eliminate insurance industry profits and reduce waste, saving up to $500 billion a year on administrative costs. (Sen. Bernie Sanders, 9/25)

The Hill: 'SandersCare' Doesn't Pass The Laugh Test
Since its inception, Medicare has exhibited poor cost control and unbridled growth. The program is riddled with fraud. A 2015 Government Accountability Office report estimated that over 10 percent of program funds, or 60 billion dollars, are squandered on fraud, waste, abuse and improper payments. ... Despite this undeniable reality, Sen. Sanders and his co-sponsors propose to miraculously give complete coverage to an additional 270 million people, while absorbing the costs and removing the constraints associated with copayments and deductibles. (Dr. Roger Klein, 9/24)

Chicago Tribune: Five Lessons From Canada On Single-Payer Health Care
The United States is about to debate the merits of Bernie Sanders’ proposal for a single-payer health care system. While cost will be an issue, evidence shows that many countries provide access to quality care for all their citizens through a single-payer model while spending far less than the U.S. does now. How can this be? (Colleen M. Flood and Allan Rock, 9/24)

Viewpoints: Examining The Link Between Opioids And Medicaid; Putting The Squeeze On ACA Navigators

A selection of opinions on health care from around the country, including a range of thoughts on the Medicaid program and prescription drug costs.

The Wall Street Journal: Does Medicaid Spur Opioid Abuse?
Forty-one state attorneys general are investigating drug manufacturers and distributors for fanning the opioid epidemic; several have already sued. The allegation is that Big Pharma used deceptive marketing to hook millions of Americans on prescription painkillers, which served as gateway drugs to more potent opioids like heroin and fentanyl. (Allysia Finley, 9/24)

Cincinnati Enquirer: Let's Make Sure We Put Patients Before Profits
Years ago, Congress constructed a well-intentioned program to help certain hospitals and select community and disease-specific health clinics control their prescription drug costs. ... Unfortunately, good ideas sometimes go awry, and that’s the case with this program, called 340B. It’s having a negative impact on cancer care provided locally in Cincinnati, across Ohio, and across the country. (Randolph Broun, 9/23)

San Jose Mercury News: 60% Of Medicaid Beneficiaries Are Working Americans
The U.S. Congress has put the health of millions at risk with its counterproductive attempts to gut Medicaid. The changes being proposed will move America’s health care system, and our entire economy, in a dangerous and harmful direction, phasing out Medicaid coverage for millions of Americans and threatening the viability of the Medicaid system through underfunded per capita allotments. (Christine Tomcala, 9/24)

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Sinking Medicaid Expansion Is Not The Way To Lead In Ohio
Dozens of Republican incumbents in the Ohio House also may face May 8 primary races next year to retain their seats. Those facts help explain why Taylor and the House GOP caucus are suffering a relapse of Obamacare-phobia -- partly (or largely) out of fear of Republican primary opponents who may seize on Ohio's expansion of Medicaid, made possible under Obamacare, to pummel GOP incumbents.That's self-defeating and wrong. (9/23)