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6. Political Cartoon: 'Gift Exchange'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Gift Exchange'" by Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Here's today's health policy haiku:

PART OF THE PRACTICE...

Health care costs too much.
Who/what is responsible?
My doctor listens

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Summaries Of The News:

Capitol Hill Watch

7. Repeal And Replace Top The GOP To-Do List... But Completing That Task Brings Some Risks, Challenges

This ambitious and complicated undertaking, which would have significant impact on both the insurance marketplace and political landscape, is leading to differences in opinion among Republican lawmakers about how best to proceed.

Los Angeles Times: Republicans Finally Have The Power To Repeal Obamacare, But They're Still Not Sure How
Congressional Republicans, despite pledging to quickly repeal the Affordable Care Act, are struggling with what parts of the law to roll back and how to lock up the votes they will need, particularly in the Senate, to push their ambitious plans. Settling these questions may delay any major repeal vote for months. Just as importantly, a protracted debate could force President-elect Donald Trump and GOP lawmakers to preserve parts of the healthcare law they once swore to eliminate. And this all must be resolved before they even turn to the question of how to replace the law. (Levey, 1/3)

CNN: What Obamacare Could Be Replaced With Under Trump
The so-called "repeal and delay" tactic, however, is not sitting well with some in Congress, particularly a few top GOP senators. Senator Lamar Alexander, who chairs the health committee, said if the process is rushed, harm may be done or mistakes made. These senators would like to wait until a more solid replacement plan is in hand so it's possible they will try to slow down the reconciliation process. (Luhby, 1/3)

Morning Consult: GOP Senators Stress Need for ACA Replacement Sooner Rather Than Later
Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) expressed hesitation about repealing the health care law without having a replacement plan ready to go, citing concerns about how the market would react to the swift repeal without an alternative to take its place. While none have said they would vote against a repeal measure without an alternative in place, several sit on key committees that will work directly on the law’s repeal and replacement. (McIntire, 1/3)

Kaiser Health News: Vowing To Jettison Obamacare, Republicans Face Immediate Resistance And Risks
The 115th Congress started work Tuesday with Republican majorities in both the House and Senate in agreement on their top priority — to repeal and replace the 2010 health law, the Affordable Care Act. “The Obamacare experience has proven it’s a failure,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters at an opening day news conference. But that may be where the agreement among Republicans ends. Nearly seven years after its passage, Republicans still have no consensus on how to repeal and replace the measure. (Rovner, 1/3)

Morning Consult: Trump Focuses Rhetoric On ACA As Congress Readies Repeal
President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday focused his rhetoric on the Affordable Care Act, calling the insurance plans offered under the law “lousy healthcare.” “People must remember that ObamaCare just doesn’t work, and it is not affordable,” Trump said in a tweet Tuesday morning. (McIntire, 1/3)

Modern Healthcare: Could Delayed Replacement Save Key Parts Of Obamacare? 
The phrase “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act long has been popular among Republicans. But the “replace” part has always been thorny. With Republicans taking control of the White House and having majorities in the Senate and House, the prospect of leaving up to 30 million people without healthcare appears to have chilled the rhetoric. Still, members of the newest Congress took swift action Tuesday to make good on their longtime promise of repealing the ACA. But more Republicans are suggesting a slow death of the landmark legislation and a gradual replacement. That opens the door to keeping key provisions of the ACA, such as subsidies to help people buy insurance and the provision allowing people to stay on their parents' plans until they're 26. (Muchmore, 1/3)

8. Senate Takes First Steps Toward Health Law Repeal In Budget Resolution

The resolution, which was introduced yesterday by Budget Committee Chair Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., includes directions that will serve as a vehicle for taking apart much of the statute.

The Wall Street Journal: Senate Moves To Dismantle Health Law
The Republican-controlled Senate on Tuesday took its first step toward dismantling the 2010 Affordable Care Act, using its initial day in office to introduce a measure that sets an aggressive timeline for developing plans to repeal much of President Barack Obama’s signature health law. (Hughes and son, 1/3)

The New York Times: The Parliamentary Trick That Could Obliterate Obamacare
Republicans hope to repeal major parts of the Affordable Care Act using an expedited procedure known as budget reconciliation. The process is sometimes called arcane, but it has been used often in the past 35 years to write some of the nation’s most important laws. “Reconciliation is probably the most potent budget enforcement tool available to Congress for a large portion of the budget,” the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan arm of Congress, has said. Here is a primer. (Pear, 1/4)

NPR: Obamacare Repeal Launched By Senate Republicans
Lawmakers returned to Washington and wasted no time getting to work on the repeal of Obamacare. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., introduced a resolution just hours after the new Congress convened Tuesday that will serve as the vehicle for repealing much of the president's signature health care law. (Kodjak, 1/3)

Reuters: U.S. Republican Senator Introduces Obamacare Repeal Resolution
Republican U.S. Senator Mike Enzi introduced on Tuesday a resolution allowing for the repeal of President Barack Obama's signature health insurance program, which provides coverage to millions of Americans, Enzi's office said in a statement. The move by the Senate's budget committee chairman on the first day of the new Congress set in motion the Republican majority's promise to repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, as its first major legislative item. (Cornwell, 1/3)

Bloomberg: Trump's Efforts To Undo Obamacare Will Be An Early Lesson In The Pace Of Congress 
Donald Trump promised voters an immediate repeal of Obamacare, but Republicans in Congress likely won’t have a bill ready for him on Day One. Or Day Two. Or perhaps even his first two weeks. Republican leaders will start deploying fast-track procedures Wednesday to get the bill through the Senate, but that will require weeks of wrangling, if not longer. It’ll be an early lesson for Trump in the sometimes-glacial pace of Congress. And it’s likely to get more difficult from here, as the incoming president moves on to other areas where Republicans aren’t in such lockstep, such as infrastructure spending, where he might need bipartisan support. (Dennis, 1/4)