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From Kaiser Health News:

Kaiser Health News Original Stories

4. Political Cartoon: 'Rebuttal'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Rebuttal'" by Steve Kelley and Jeff Parker, from 'Dustin'.

Here's today's health policy haiku:


Are coal miners the
Proverbial canaries
Of our pension plans?

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Summaries Of The News:

Health Law

5. Almost No Health Players Back Repeal-And-Delay Plan, But GOP Remains Resolute

No major industry executives, patients and doctors groups nor insurers who have been critics of the health law are voicing support for the Republicans' strategy. On the contrary, most warn that it will be disastrous. Meanwhile, to save the insurance market from collapsing amid uncertainty, Republicans may have to rely on the "bailouts" they so hated during the Obama administration.

Los Angeles Times: Trump And The GOP Are Charging Forward With Obamacare Repeal, But Few Are Eager To Follow
As they race to repeal large parts of the Affordable Care Act, President-elect Donald Trump and congressional Republicans are leaving behind nearly everyone but their base voters and a handful of conservative activists. Not a single major organization representing patients, physicians, hospitals or others who work in the nation’s healthcare system backs the GOP’s Obamacare strategy. New polls also show far more Americans would like to expand or keep the healthcare law, rather than repeal it. (Levey, 12/12)

Politico: GOP Will Kill Obamacare … And Then Fund It
Republicans are going to kill Obamacare — but first they might have to save it. The already fragile Obamacare markets — beset by soaring premiums and fleeing insurers — are likely to collapse unless Republicans take deliberate steps to stabilize them while they build consensus on a replacement plan, say health care experts. That could lead to a mess for the roughly 10 million Americans currently getting coverage through the government-run marketplaces — and backlash against the GOP. (Demko, 12/9)

The Wall Street Journal: Republicans Face Dilemma On Timing Of Health-Law Replacement
Republicans united in their desire to overturn the Affordable Care Act are divided over whether to replace it before or after the 2018 elections, a choice that holds political peril either way. Waiting until after the midterms could pose a political risk to the most conservative Republicans who campaigned on the repeal and whose constituents want the law to be gone as quickly as possible. (Armour and son, 12/9)

The Associated Press: GOP's 'Obamacare' Repeal Path Worries Health Care Industry 
One by one, key health care industry groups are telling the incoming Republican administration and Congress that it's not a good idea to repeal the 2010 health care law without clear plans to address the consequences. Hospitals, insurers and actuaries — bean-counters who make long-range economic estimates — have weighed in, and more interest groups are expected to make their views known soon. Representing patients, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network reminded lawmakers that lives are at stake. (12/10)

The Associated Press: After Health-Care Repeal Vote, Some In GOP Fear A Cliff 
Republicans are eagerly planning initial votes next month on dismantling President Barack Obama's health care law, a cherished GOP goal. But many worry that while Congress tries to replace it, the party will face ever-angrier voters, spooked health insurers and the possibility of tumbling off a political cliff. Republicans have said they first want to vote to unwind as much of the health care law as they can, though it wouldn't take effect for perhaps three years. That's to give them and new President Donald Trump time to write legislation constructing a new health care system — a technically and politically daunting task that has frustrated GOP attempts for unity for years. (Fram, 12/12)

The Washington Post: New Push To Replace Obamacare Reignites Old GOP Tensions
Republicans on Capitol Hill are already laying the groundwork for a rapid repeal of President Obama’s signature health-care law beginning on the first day of the new Congress, before President-elect Donald Trump is even sworn in. But the urgent efforts to make good on a Republican campaign promise six years in the making obscure major GOP divisions over what exactly to replace Obamacare with and how to go about it, and how long a transition period to allow before the law’s insurance would go away. (DeBonis and Snell, 12/11)

Roll Call: Immigration, Obamacare Repeal Seen Headlining Trump’s First 100 Days
Trump and his top lieutenants are vowing to hit the ground running on Inauguration Day, with the 45th president’s expected first act — likely not long after taking the oath — being signing a slew of orders to undo many executive actions and orders enacted by his predecessor, President Barack Obama. ... Trump and Pence, a former House GOP leadership team member, want to pounce early — and often — by quickly repealing Obama’s 2010 health care law, overhauling Medicaid, and rescinding a slew of Obama-era regulations. The new administration wants to use block grants to give states more sway over Medicaid, a rare policy detail. (Bennett, 12/12)

CQ Roll Call: Obamacare Goes Under The Knife
Voters in Racine, Wis., helped elect Donald Trump president in November and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan to be their representative. But now, longtime resident Mary McIlvaine — and about 6,000 of her neighbors — are left wondering whether those Republicans will kick them off their health insurance.  “I’m worried we’re going to lose coverage that’s affordable,” the 60-year-old retiree tells CQ. “I’d like to see Obamacare improved, but not done away with. ”McIlvaine, who lives about 30 minutes south of Milwaukee, had insurance through her job before retiring. She has had a subsidized plan since the program started in 2014. (Mershon, 12/12)

Politico Pro: Moderate Senate Republicans Targeted In New Pro-Obamacare Ad Blitz 
A new coalition of Obamacare supporters is releasing a seven-figure ad buy Monday to rally opposition to the Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act.The Alliance for Healthcare Security's print and digital ads will be running in major daily newspapers and websites in Alaska, Arizona, Maine, Nevada and Tennessee, as well as in D.C. The message is that repealing the health law without an immediate replacement is a risky move — the print ad uses an image of a person standing at the edge of an unfinished bridge over open water — that would cause a crisis. The ad says that 30 million people would lose insurance coverage, hospitals would lose $165 billion, premiums would skyrocket and states could be forced to raise taxes to cover Medicaid cuts. (Haberkorn, 12/12)

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama, liberal groups and WHO make the case for keeping the health law —

The Hill: Obama Urges Congress Not To Repeal ObamaCare
President Barack Obama on Saturday lauded the Affordable Care Act as a Republican-controlled Congress looks forward to its repeal.  During his weekly White House address, Obama encouraged Americans who don't currently have healthcare to enroll in the program, and said that he wants to "build on the progress we’ve made" with the law. (Vladimirov, 12/10)

The Hill: Liberal Groups Form Coalition To Fight ObamaCare Repeal 
Liberal groups are forming a new coalition to fight ObamaCare repeal and put pressure on congressional Republicans. The group, called the Protect Our Care Coalition, is made of groups including the Service Employees International Union, NAACP, National Council of La Raza and Families USA. The coalition is calling on Republicans to detail what their replacement for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is before voting to repeal the law. (Sullivan, 12/9)

Reuters: WHO Urges Trump To Expand Obamacare, Ensure Healthcare For All
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday urged U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to expand Obamacare and ensure all Americans have access to healthcare. The real estate magnate takes office next month after promising to repeal outgoing President Barack Obama's signature healthcare policy which helped millions more Americans get medical insurance but has been a target of Republican attacks. (Nebehay, 12/9)

And from the states —

Nashville Tennessean: Trump, BCBST Loom Large As First Obamacare Deadline Approaches
Alan Hall sat with his laptop at the ready at Bellevue Public Library Sunday, prepared to help people navigate as the first Health Insurance Marketplace deadline approaches this week. The deadline to sign up with a guaranteed Jan. 1 coverage start date is Dec. 15. Navigators around the state like Hall are preparing for a busy week. Listen to Hall speak for very long and it's a workshop on insurance, explaining co-insurance and the structure of plans' specialist and emergency room coverage, along with the random, odd personal fact — presumably the answer to a security question that won't be hard to remember. (Fletcher, 12/11)

St. Louis Post Dispatch: High Insurance Costs Sway Consumers To Consider Alternative Health Coverage Options
As health insurance costs climb, some consumers are turning to alternative products for coverage that can impose strict Christian-based moral expectations and are unregulated in many states including Missouri and Illinois. The alternative coverage may also lack some of the hallmark protections included in the Affordable Care Act, such as the requirement to cover individuals with pre-existing conditions. But with the alternative coverage, known as health care sharing ministries, consumers are exempt from paying a federal tax penalty for not having insurance. Consumers also can enroll in these plans any time during the year, not just during open enrollment like traditional insurance. (Liss, 12/11)