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5. Political Cartoon: 'Change Of Heart?'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Change Of Heart?'" by Mike s.

Here's today's health policy haiku:

IN CONGRESS, TRUMP’S PICK TO LEAD HHS USED HIS INFLUENCE FOR DONORS

He’d send a letter
To help smooth out the red tape.
That was the Price way.

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Summaries Of The News:

Capitol Hill Watch

6. McConnell: Senate To Vote On Repeal This Week, Replace Plan Will 'Rapidly' Follow

But the Senate majority leader didn't offer any specifics. Meanwhile, Donald Trump's advisers say he is still considering the speed of which to replace the health law.

The Associated Press: GOP Lawmakers Vow Quick Action To Enact New Health Care Law
Top Republicans said Sunday they’ll move quickly to enact a new health care law, but they won’t say how long that might take or what might replace President Barack Obama’s version. Questions surrounding the future GOP plan have unnerved key parts of the health care industry, including hospitals and insurers that have warned Congress against uncertainty. (1/8)

Reuters: Senate To Act This Week On Obamacare Repeal, McConnell Says
The U.S. Senate will take its first steps toward repealing President Barack Obama's signature healthcare reform act by the end of the week, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Sunday. Speaking on CBS's "Face the Nation," McConnell said: "There ought not to be a great gap" between repealing the act and replacing it and that Republicans would be "replacing it rapidly after repealing it." (Clarke, 1/8)

The Wall Street Journal: Mitch McConnell Vows New GOP Health Plan Soon
Congress will quickly devise a new health-insurance system after moving to repeal the Obama administration’s signature health-care law in coming days, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday, despite growing questions within the Republican Party over the GOP’s strategy. (Talley, 1/8)

The Hill: Senate Braces For ObamaCare Vote-A-Rama
As ObamaCare repeal moves along, the debate is only getting more intense. The Senate is expected to take a long string of votes on Wednesday, known as a "vote-a-rama," on a budget resolution that is the first step to repealing ObamaCare. That series of votes gives Democrats an opportunity to offer a series of provisions designed to make things uncomfortable for Republicans and put them on record about popular aspects of ObamaCare. (Sullivan, 1/9)

Politico: Conway, Priebus Won't Promise Immediate Repeal-And-Replace
Kellyanne Conway and Reince Priebus, top advisers to Donald Trump, said Sunday that the president-elect is still considering his options when it comes to the speed of replacing Obamacare. Republican leaders in Congress have been discussing a repeal of Obamacare that would take effect two years or more after the vote to repeal to give them time to craft a replacement plan so that millions of Americans would not suddenly lose coverage. But some conservatives, including Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, have said Congress should pass a replacement plan immediately. Other senators have suggested delaying repeal until a replacement plan is ready. (Robillard, 1/8)

The Hill: Conway Refuses To Commit To ObamaCare Repeal And Replacement On Same Day 
Incoming White House counselor Kellyanne Conway refused to say President-elect Donald Trump will replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on the same day Republicans in Congress repeal the law, also known as ObamaCare. "Well, it really depends [on] what the piece of legislation is. What does it look like?" she said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” when asked if Trump agrees with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) that a replacement is needed the same day the ACA is repealed. "I can confirm that he is committed to replacing ObamaCare with something that actually is affordable and accessible and allows you to buy health insurance over state lines," she added. (Shelbourne, 1/8)

The Associated Press: Paul: Trump Backs Health Repeal, Replacement At Same Time
A Republican senator who challenged Donald Trump for the White House nomination says the president-elect "fully supports" repealing President Barack Obama's health law only when there's a viable alternative to replace it. Republican leaders in the GOP-controlled Congress are moving toward a vote on repeal legislation in coming weeks, but they anticipate a transition period of months or years to a replacement. Some Republican lawmakers are expressing reservations about scrapping the law, which now covers 20 million people, without a near-term replacement. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who clashed with Trump during the GOP primary, said in a tweet late Friday that the two had a conversation and that Trump agreed with Paul's approach. (Colvin and Fram, 1/7)

Boston Globe: How Donald Trump Could Repeal Obamacare — And Why 
Changes are coming to the nation’s health care system. President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to repeal President Obama’s signature health care law, and having a Republican-led Congress boosts the odds he can make good on that promise. Republicans have yet to detail what new plan they want to implement in place of the Affordable Care Act. Here’s what we know about what’s happening to the national health care law and what it means for Massachusetts. (McCluskey, 1/9)

Don't miss: Today marks the launch of Repeal & Replace Watch, a KHN feature that tracks the efforts of the Trump administration and Congress to revamp the U.S. health care system.

Health Law

7. Republicans Between Rock And Hard Place When It Comes To Health Law's Taxes

Lawmakers have to decide if they should immediately cut off the taxes that would be needed to fund a transition period between repeal and replace and be left scrambling to pay for Americans' subsidies.

The Wall Street Journal: Health-Law Taxes Complicate GOP’s Repeal Strategy
Republicans eager to scrap the 2010 health-care law are wrestling with whether to immediately cut off the tax revenue it brings in. Among the thorniest issues GOP lawmakers face as they hash out how to try to dismantle the Affordable Care Act is that getting rid of the health law’s taxes now would eliminate a source of revenue they would need to fund the two- or three-year transition period until any replacement plan is in place. Repealing the taxes would throw into question how to fund the subsidies that help many people get health coverage by offsetting their premium costs, health analysts say. (son and Rubin, 1/7)

CQ Roll Call: Obamacare Tax On Wealthy Sparks Battle Over Fairness
Republicans and Democrats are squaring off in a fight over tax fairness as the GOP develops a timetable for repealing the 3.8 percent surtax on investment income under the health care overhaul. GOP lawmakers have long argued for elimination of the surtax, or the net investment income tax, that applies to income such as interest, dividends and capital gains for individuals making more than $125,000 or couples earning more than $250,000. The levy was created by the health care overhaul to help pay for subsidies and has been championed by Democrats as both a pillar of support for health care coverage and a key component of President Barack Obama’s push to reduce income inequality in part by raising taxes on the wealthy. (Ota, 1/9)