In This Edition:

From Kaiser Health News:

Kaiser Health News Original Stories

1. Victims Seek Payments As 'Dr. Death' Declares Innocence

While hundreds of his former patients submit claims for restitution, a Detroit cancer doctor convicted of making millions by purposefully poisoning them with drugs they didn’t need vows to prove his innocence. (Melissa Bailey, 11/18)

5. Political Cartoon: 'Big Shot'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Big Shot'" by Mike Lester.

Here's today's health policy haiku:


Bad cough? UTI?
Where does one go for relief?
It’s still the ER.

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 Issues And Implementation

6. Poll: Health Care Should Be Trump's Top Priority During First 100 Days

Americans sound off on what they want Donald Trump to focus on when he first gets into office. Meanwhile, The Washington Post offers a primer on the health law and the president-elect.

Reuters: Americans Want Trump To Focus On Healthcare First: Poll
Healthcare is the top issue Americans want Donald Trump to address during his first 100 days in the White House, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Thursday, an apparent rebuke of outgoing President Barack Obama's signature reform, Obamacare. Some 21 percent of Americans want Trump to focus on the healthcare system when he enters the White House on Jan. 20, according to the Nov. 9-14 poll, conducted in the week after the Republican won the U.S. presidential election. (Khan, 11/17)

The Washington Post: The Ultimate Q&A About Health Care Under A Trump Presidency
While it's pretty much a given that the Affordable Care Act won't survive a Trump presidency and Republican Congress in its current form, there are sweeping implications of reversing a law that has reached in so many ways into our health care system. The government has never undone a major benefits program after it has taken effect — and neither the incoming administration nor GOP lawmakers know exactly how they'll replace it. (Cha and Goldstein, 11/17)

And in other health law news — Obamacare Could Remain In Force Through 2017
Just as open enrollment for Obamacare in 2017 wraps up in January, a newly elected president and Congress will try to unravel the insurance program. So should you bother signing up at all? And if you like your coverage at the start of 2017, will you be able to keep it through 2017? Yes and probably yes, say healthcare authorities. (Koff, 11/17)

Kansas Health Institute: One Family’s Growing Worry: Paying For Their Child’s Cancer Care In A Post-ACA World 
Last week’s election results stunned a lot of people who get health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act. President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress say they want to scrap the law, but what might replace it remains unknown. That has left some Missouri and Kansas families in limbo, unsure what will become of their medical care. (Smith, 11/17)

7. Advocates Vow To Defend Covered California: 'What We Have Is Too Important To Lose'

In Covered California's first meeting since Donald Trump's win, lawmakers and health care experts promised to stand by the marketplace in these uncertain times.

California Healthline: State Senate’s Health Chairman Vows To Defend California Coverage Gains
A key state health care figure vowed Thursday to defend the coverage gains California has seen under the Affordable Care Act in the face of widely expected efforts by President-elect Donald Trump to overturn much of the health reform law. “I want to assure you, your staff and Californians that we stand ready to fight to keep what is working in this state,” Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), chairman of the Senate Health Committee, told the board members of Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange, in their first public meeting since Trump was elected on Nov. 8. (Ibarra, 11/18)

San Jose Mercury News: Whither Obamacare? Covered California Board, Experts Address Future Of Healthcare Law
It was all hands on deck at Covered California’s monthly board meeting Thursday as leaders of the state insurance exchange and a panel of experts spent hours trying to divine a health care world according to President-elect Donald Trump. The worst-case scenario is clear: On the campaign trail, Trump promised to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature health care law that has insured 20 million Americans who had lacked health coverage. (Seipel, 11/17)

California Healthline: Blue Shield, California’s Biggest Obamacare Insurer, Vows It’s Not ‘Running For The Hills’
The chief executive of Blue Shield of California, the largest insurer on the state-run marketplace, says he’s committed to selling coverage there even as Republicans pursue a repeal of the federal health law. In an interview this week with California Healthline, Paul Markovich also criticized President-elect Donald Trump’s support for the sale of insurance plans across state lines in order to boost competition and consumer choice. (Terhune, 11/17)

Capitol Hill Watch

8. HELP Chairman: Replacing ACA Won't Be Quick Because 'We Spent Six Years As The Hatfields And The McCoys'

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander predicts it could take years. Meanwhile, the House Republicans and Vice President-elect Mike Pence settle on a plan for government funding and The Washington Post fact checks House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's statement on diseases.

Morning Consult: Alexander Warns Drafting ACA Replacement Could Take Time, Bipartisan Consensus
Drafting a sustainable replacement to the Affordable Care Act could take years, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander warned Thursday. Alexander said replacing Obamacare could take longer than the education bill he worked to pass last year, which took six years. ... While Republicans will likely be able to repeal major parts of the 2010 health care law with a simple majority using a budget tool called reconciliation, Alexander said he expects passing a replacement would require 60 votes, meaning Senate Republicans would need at least eight Democrats to vote in favor of a replacement law. “Before the process is over, we’ll need a consensus,” he said. “I imagine this will take several years to completely make that sort of transition to make sure we do no harm, create a good health care system that everyone has access to, and that we repeal the parts of Obamacare that need to be repealed.” (McIntire, 11/17)

Morning Consult: House GOP Settles on Path Forward for Government Funding, Obamacare Repeal
House Republicans and Vice President-elect Mike Pence on Thursday agreed on a plan to punt the government funding debate into early next year and begin preparations to repeal Obamacare. ... Lawmakers also discussed passing two budget resolutions next year, which would enable them to use the reconciliation process twice to undo some of President Barack Obama’s signature policies. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said Republicans aim to have instructions ready for the first round of budget reconciliation by Inauguration Day. Their first target, according to Meadows, is repealing the Affordable Care Act. (Reid, 11/17)

In other news from Capitol Hill —