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Kaiser Health News Original Stories

2. One GOP Plan Says States That Like Their Obamacare Can Keep It  

States could continue to cover people under the ACA or create new approaches, according to a bill introduced Monday. Many Democrats fear such state options won’t draw enough federal funding and will fragment coverage nationwide. (Chad Terhune and Pauline Bartolone, California Healthline, 1/24)

6. Political Cartoon: 'Washed Up?'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Washed Up?'" by Gary Varvel, Indianapolis Star.

Here's today's health policy haiku:

GOP SENATORS PICK UP AN OLD REFRAIN

If you like your plan,
You can keep it, even if
It’s Obamacare.

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:

Administration News

7. Price's Second Senate Hearing Comes Amid Increasing Scrutiny Over Stocks, Contributors

Questions are expected to focus on the future of the health law as well as the congressman's past industry dealings. Ethics experts have said that HHS nominee Tom Price has shown "an extraordinary lack of good judgment" when it comes to his campaign and legislative actions.

USA Today: Trump Health Nominee To Get Grilled As Obamacare Debate Heats Up
A festering debate about who has been hurt or helped more by President Obama's health law comes as the Senate Finance Committee meets Tuesday to consider the nomination of physician and ACA opponent Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga. When he introduced an ACA replacement bill in 2015, Price said that "under Obamacare, the American people are paying more for health care and getting less — less access, less quality, and fewer choices." (O'Donnell, 1/24)

The Washington Post: HHS Nominee’s Mix Of Investments, Donations, Legislation Keeps Raising Questions
Rep. Tom Price, the Georgia Republican nominated by President Trump to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, is under increasing scrutiny for a trifecta of financial, campaign and legislative activities that some longtime ethics lawyers describe as “extremely rare” and revealing “an extraordinary lack of good judgment.” In recent years, Price has repeatedly traded stock in dozens of health-related companies while pushing bills that could have benefited many of them. At the same time, he has been uncommonly reliant on campaign contributions from the health-care industry, accepting more than $700,000 from physicians, hospitals, drug companies and insurers during his 2016 run for a seventh congressional term, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. (Kindy and Goldstein, 1/23)

The Wall Street Journal: Senate To Question Trump Health Secretary Nominee Tom Price
Mr. Price, 62 years old and a third-generation physician, has attracted strong Democratic opposition because of his conservative views and outspoken opposition to the health law. He has supported curbing Medicaid spending and making changes to Medicare that critics say would shoulder seniors with more costs. Democrats also have called for an investigation into stock trades Mr. Price made in medical companies while he sponsored legislation that could have potentially benefited those companies. (Armour, 1/24)

Politico: Price To Face Grilling On Trump's Order To Weaken Obamacare
Tuesday's hearing marks the second major test in a week for Price, who struggled at last week’s hearing to offer a clear blueprint for replacing Obamacare. Questioned by both Democrats and Republicans about his preferred replacement, he demurred, calling it a "legislative question" rather than an administrative one he'd handle as HHS secretary. At the same time, though, he assured lawmakers that the 20 million Americans insured through Obamacare wouldn’t lose coverage — a promise that could be hard to keep if Trump’s administration starts dismantling the law before Congress has readied a replacement plan. (Cancryn, 1/24)

CQ Roll Call: Senate Finance Uncovers Stock, Tax Issues For HHS Nominee Price
The Senate Finance Committee’s investigation of the nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services turned up questions about his tax deductions and late property tax payments, as well as the value of his investment in an Australian biotechnology company. These revelations could add to Democratic protests about President Donald Trump’s choice of Rep. Tom Price to lead the nation’s federal medical programs. Price, a Georgia Republican, agreed to amend both his tax forms and his filing with the Office of Government Ethics to correct errors discovered by the Finance Committee, according to a staff memo obtained by CQ Roll Call. The staff prepared the Jan. 23 memo ahead of Tuesday’s hearing with Price. The Finance Committee has the responsibility of deciding whether to put the nomination before the full Senate. (Young, 1/23)

Kaiser Health News: Trump’s HHS Choice: First A Letter To Medicare. Then A Campaign Contribution
Tom Price, the Georgia congressman tapped for the nation’s top health job, pressed Medicare officials on a funding change that led to a windfall for the small biotech company run by one of his top campaign contributors, according to a document released under an open records request. Price is facing a Senate hearing Tuesday on his nomination to be secretary of Health and Human Services, a role that would put him at the helm of an agency overseeing billions in spending. His initial hearing revealed the depth of Democratic lawmakers’ concerns about Price’s investments in health care stocks. (Jewett and Taylor, 1/24)

8. CDC Cancels Major Climate Change Conference With No Explanation

The event was intended to bring together health officials to discuss the risks humans face due to the changing climate. The agency says it is exploring whether the conference can be rescheduled. In other developments from the new Trump administration, biotech billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong is being considered for a role like “health care czar.”

The Washington Post: CDC Abruptly Cancels Long-Planned Conference On Climate Change And Health
With little warning or explanation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently canceled a major climate change conference that had been scheduled for next month in Atlanta. The Climate and Health Summit, which had been in the works for months, was intended as a chance for public health officials around the country to learn more about the mounting evidence of the risks to human health posed by the changing climate. But CDC officials abruptly canceled the conference before President Trump’s inauguration, sending a terse email on Jan. 9 to those who had been scheduled to speak at the event. The message did not explain the reason behind the decision. (Dennis, 1/23)

Stat: Billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong Eyes Health Care Role Under Trump
Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, an audacious biotech billionaire who has pledged to “solve health care,” has been in talks with the Trump administration about the possibility of serving in a senior role overseeing the US health care system, according to individuals familiar with the discussions. Soon-Shiong, a trained surgeon, has met with President Trump and his advisers at least twice in recent weeks. During those discussions, he raised the possibility that he could serve as a “health care czar” with a broad portfolio in the administration as it seeks to reshape the health care system and replace the Affordable Care Act, according to two individuals, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. (Scott, 1/24)

Capitol Hill Watch

9. GOP Senators' Replace Plan Gives Power To States: 'You Love Obamacare, You Can Keep It'

Sens. Susan Collins and Bill Cassidy — two lawmakers who have been adamant that there must be a replacement plan soon after the law is repealed — introduced their version on Monday. It was quickly dismissed as an "empty facade" by the Senate's top Democrat, Chuck Schumer.