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4. Political Cartoon: 'Food For Thought'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Food For Thought'" by Brian, Greg and Mort Walker.

Here's today's health policy haiku:


A sudden surge now.
Get insurance while you can.
Will it go away?

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Summaries Of The News:

Health Law Issues And Implementation

5. Obama to Republicans: Wish You Luck Coming Up With A Better Health Plan

“My view is that if they can come up with something better, that actually works ... I’ll be the first one to say that’s great, congratulations,” President Barack Obama said of Republicans' plans to overhaul the health law. But if they don't and millions lose coverage, "we're going to have a problem."

Politico: Obama Dares Trump To Do Better On Obamacare
President Barack Obama said Monday that President-elect Donald Trump is "pragmatic" — and Republicans' plan to repeal and replace Obamacare will test that approach. "Obviously, this has been the holy grail for Republicans: We gotta kill Obamacare," the president said at a post-election press conference. "But now that Republicans are in charge, they gotta take a look" at how the law is saving the government money and benefiting millions of people — both the 20 million covered directly by the law and millions more who receive insurance through employers and are getting extra protections under the health law, whether they recognize it or not. (Diamond, 11/14)

The Hill: Obama Warns GOP On Healthcare: 'Now Comes The Hard Part' 
President Obama said he thinks Republicans' efforts to repeal and replace ObamaCare will get harder now that they have the responsibility of governing. At a press conference Monday, Obama noted that while repealing his signature law has long been a “holy grail” for Republicans, the GOP will have to contend with the real-world consequences such action would have for the 20 million people who gained health coverage under the law. In addition to winning the White House, the GOP also maintained its House and Senate majorities. (Sullivan, 11/14)

Morning Consult: Obama Defends Obamacare Gains as GOP Plots Repeal
President Obama on Monday touted the gains made under the Affordable Care Act and laid out the challenges he thinks face Republicans when they work to repeal the law under President-elect Trump. “My view is that if they can come up with something better that actually works and a year or two after they’ve replaced the Affordable Care Act with their own plan that 25 million people have health insurance and it’s cheaper and better and running smoothly, I’ll be the first one to say that’s great, congratulations,” Obama said. (McIntire, 11/14)

Meanwhile, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., says the compromises that were made while getting the health law through hurt Democrats in 2016 —

6. Burwell Continues Enrollment Push, Says Health Law Is 'Woven Into The Fabric Of Our Nation'

“The American people don’t want to go back," Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said.

The Washington Post: Despite Trump's Campaign Pledge, Obamacare Is Woven Into Nation’s Fabric, HHS Secretary Says
The nation's top health official made an appeal Monday morning for the preservation of the Affordable Care Act, insisting that the sprawling health-care law that President-elect Donald Trump is vowing to eliminate is “now woven into the fabric of our nation.” Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell delivered the most extensive remarks of any Obama administration official since last week's election about the future of the law, suggesting that large numbers of Americans signing up now for ACA health plans will make it more difficult for Trump and congressional Republicans to take away that insurance or the federal subsidies that help pay for it. (Goldstein, 11/14)

Morning Consult: In Charge To ACA Advocates, Burwell Says It’s The Law Of The Land
The Department of Health and Human Services is looking past the election to the rest of open enrollment, which will end less than a dozen days after President-elect Donald Trump is inaugurated. HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said the law is “now woven into the fabric of our Nation” while addressing enrollment advocates at the White House Monday. “I know that last week was a tough one for many of us. But rest assured, the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land,” Burwell said. “The American people do not want to go back – they want Republicans and Democrats to come together to make the law better.” (McIntire, 11/14)

The Hill: White House Ignores Trump Win In Latest ObamaCare Sign-Up Push 
The Obama administration is publicly ignoring the outcome of last week’s election as it presses ahead with this year's open enrollment for the president's signature healthcare law. At a White House event on Monday, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell mentioned the election just once in her 20-minute address about ObamaCare signups. “I know that this last week has been tough, but the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land,” Burwell said to a roomful of on-the-ground healthcare advocates. (Ferris, 11/14)

The Baltimore Sun: Maryland Pushes Forward With Obamacare Despite Uncertain Future
Maryland lawmakers and health officials vowed Monday to fight plans by President-elect Donald Trump to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, and said they are moving ahead with enrolling people in health plans. Sen. Ben Cardin, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings and Maryland Health Secretary Van Mitchell were at the University of Maryland, Baltimore on Monday to announce College Enrollment Week, a push to get younger people insured. But talk quickly turned to keeping expansion of health coverage to as many Americans as possible. (McDaniels, 11/14)

7. Insurers Warn Of Dreaded 'Death Spiral' If Trump Strips Away Individual Mandate

There would be no reason for healthy people to buy insurance, leaving only the sickest consumer base, insurers say. If that happens — and the provision to cover everyone regardless of pre-existing conditions remains — the market would collapse.

The Hill: Insurers Brace For ObamaCare Upheaval 
President-elect Donald Trump says he wants to repeal ObamaCare but keep the protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Achieving that will be easier said than done. Insurance companies warn that requiring them to cover anyone, regardless of their health status, could have disastrous consequences if not paired with the right policies. Without a mandate requiring people to buy coverage, insurers warn, only sick people would have reason to buy coverage. (Sullivan, 11/15)

Kaiser Health News: Despite Anger At Health Law’s Mandate, GOP Plans Could Also Have Penalties
The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that people have health insurance or pay a fine is one of the least popular provisions of the law, and one that Republicans have pledged to eliminate when they repeal and replace Obamacare. But take a look at some of the conservative replacement proposals that are floating around and it becomes clear that the “individual mandate,” as it’s called, could still exist, but in another guise. (Andrews, 11/15)

The New York Times: Health Care Issues Loom In Politics, Payments And Quality
The health care industry was unprepared for the presidential victory of Donald J. Trump, and executives at insurance companies and hospital systems are now uncertain what their business is going to look like in the years ahead. A Trump administration, coupled with a Republican Congress, is likely to lead to a reversal of many of the policies put into place by President Obama, and could mean a repeal of his signature health care law. (Abelson, 11/14)

Kaiser Health News: Some Panic But Others Are Indifferent About Losing Obamacare
The 20 million Americans who have gained health coverage under the Affordable Care Act don’t yet know exactly how the presidency of Donald Trump will change their lives — and reactions to that uncertainty range from anxiety to apathy. “My phone is ringing off the hook,” said Billy Bradford, an insurance broker in Montgomery, Ala. “People are just in panic mode here.” (Gold, 11/15)

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Trump Counties Tied To Obamacare
In winning what Republicans see as a mandate to repeal Obamacare, Donald Trump carried the Wisconsin counties that participate in a key part of the health program at higher rates. An analysis by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel shows that people living in the 59 counties won by Trump enroll in the Affordable Care Act's private health insurance exchange at a higher rate than the 13 mostly urban counties that backed Democrat Hillary Clinton. (Stein, 11/14)

8. After GOP Election Success, Advocates In Kentucky Fear For Future Of Medicaid Expansion


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