In This Edition:
From Kaiser Health News:
Remarks by Sen. Mike Lee and Reps. Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows reflect growing uncertainty about Republicans’ path to overhaul Obamacare. (Julie Rovner, 2/8)
New advocacy groups like Indivisible California weigh strategies for long-haul political activism, including protests. (Ana B. Ibarra, 2/9)
In an interview with Kaiser Health News, Michael Botticelli outlines his concerns about how GOP efforts to dismantle the health law’s coverage expansions could jeopardize treatment for people in need. (Shefali Luthra, 2/9)
The first overhaul of federal regulations in almost 30 years for home health care agencies will require them to be much more responsive to what aging patients and their caregivers need or want. (Judith Graham, 2/9)
Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Scaled Back?'" by Signe Wilkinson .
Here's today's health policy haiku:
THE WORD FROM THE RIGHT: DON’T SLOW DOWN ON HEALTH LAW REPEAL
That’s what these lawmakers want.
Time to hit delete.
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:
Leading conservative lawmakers say it is not acceptable to slow down dismantling the health law.
The Hill: Republicans Growing Impatient With Pace Of ObamaCare Repeal
Republican lawmakers on Wednesday said they are not happy with the pace Congress is taking on repealing ObamaCare. In a meeting with reporters, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) said he would like the healthcare law to be repealed within the next two or three months. "I don't think that we should allow it to go beyond that window, the repeal, because I think the American people are suffering." (Hellmann, 2/8)
The Wall Street Journal: Mike Lee: Obamacare Must Be Repealed First, Replaced Later
Republicans, who hold a 52-48 majority in the Senate, are united in their desire to repeal the law they call “Obamacare” but differ in timing and legislative strategy, especially how much disruption they are willing to tolerate to remake health policy in their own vision. A handful are unwilling to vote to repeal the health law before replacement legislation is ready, arguing such a path creates too much uncertainty for fragile insurance markets. But others including Mr. Lee argue Congress should repeal the 2010 law first, then craft and pass a sweeping new health law in the ensuing policy vacuum. (Hackman and Radnofsky, 2/8)
Kaiser Health News: Conservatives Urge Speedup Of Health Law Repeal, Dismiss Calls For Caution
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., who heads the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, said he recognizes that people are “anxious” about changing the health law. “The quicker we can give them answers, the better off we are,” he said. (Rovner, 2/8)
Modern Healthcare: Conservatives In Congress Push For Hearing On Repeal Bill Next Week
Meadows also revealed that he called the White House wondering about President Donald Trump's interview with Bill O'Reilly in which he said a replacement wouldn't be rolled out until late this year or next. “His comments were more about a transition period that may take a year or more to actually transition into a new plan,” Meadows said. He said that the White House assured him they were still supportive of repealing and replacing the ACA as soon as possible. (Dickson, 2/8)
CQ Roll Call: Lee: Don't Add Obamacare Replacement Options To Repeal Bill
Lee's comments come as House Republican leaders emphasize an ambitious agenda to include several replacement provisions in a repeal measure. That would include language to expand the use of health savings accounts, fund high-risk pools and make tax credits available for consumers who purchase insurance in the individual market, according to congressional aides, lobbyists and other sources off Capitol Hill. (Mershon and Williams, 2/8)
As time goes on, instead of there being a groundswell of support for a single bill, alternatives are mushrooming. In other news, the chairman of the Freedom Caucus says he may be willing to continue in 2018 the "insurer bailout" payments and cost-sharing reduction payments for consumers that Republicans have been trying to kill.
Politico: GOP Swimming In Obamacare Replacements, But No Consensus
Republican leaders want to get their Obamacare repeal effort back on track. There’s a big problem, though: They’re neck-deep in competing plans to replace the law. Nearly a half-dozen plans have been introduced or are coming — none with the broad support needed to get through Congress and win over the public. And that’s making it far more difficult to repeal a law the GOP has spent six years trying to kill. (Everett and Haberkorn, 2/9)
The Hill: Republicans Working With CBO On Details Of ObamaCare Bill
House Republicans have been working with the Congressional Budget Office on parts of an ObamaCare replacement that they could include in a repeal bill this spring, lobbyists and aides tell The Hill. They have been working with the CBO, Congress’s nonpartisan budget scorekeeper, on the details of tax credits, high-risk pool funding, and changes to Medicaid that could be included in a repeal bill that Republicans hope to pass by the end of March. The bill will use the fast-track process known as reconciliation to avoid a filibuster by Senate Democrats. (Sullivan, 2/8)
Morning Consult: Key Conservative Lawmaker Opens Door to Obamacare Insurer Payments
The chairman of the House Freedom Caucus said he would be open to making payments to insurers in 2018, agreeing to support a provision of Obamacare over which House Republicans had sued the Obama administration. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said he may be open to funding the reinsurance and cost-sharing reduction payments under the Affordable Care Act during a short-term transition period away from the health care law toward a more conservative alternative. The Freedom Caucus’s approval of these programs could ease their passage through Congress. (McIntire, 2/8)
The Hill: Key Conservative Open To Insurer Payments During ObamaCare Transition
"I would be more flexible and could swallow some short-term heartburn for longer-term fiscal responsibility," Meadows said. He added that while the payments are "significant" in terms of costs, it is a "minor component" when it comes to a smoother transition. (Hellmann, 2/8)
CQ Roll Call: GOP Support Grows For Obamacare Cost-Sharing Subsidies
His comments are among several signals that the controversial subsidies from the health care law may survive. The support from the conservative wing — which often balks at increased government spending — could be crucial as House Republicans push forward on a broader effort to repeal and replace the law. Other key Republicans are increasingly backing the subsidies as a way to ensure stability in the marketplace while the GOP works on a replacement. (Mershon and Williams, 2/8)
Groups who spoke out against the passage of the legislation are now lobbying in support of maintaining certain provisions. Meanwhile, patient advocates worry about the sickest Americans not being guaranteed coverage.
The Wall Street Journal: Obamacare Provisions Gain Unexpected Backers As GOP Moves To Rewrite Law
When the Affordable Care Act was debated in 2010, the country’s biggest gynecologists’ group spoke out against it, saying it wouldn’t help doctors get paid more fairly or avoid frivolous malpractice lawsuits. Today, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is fighting efforts to fully repeal the law, pushing especially to keep a ban on charging women higher health insurance premiums than men. (Hackman, 2/8)
Stat: Obamacare Repeal Could Put Sick Patients At Risk, Advocates Warn
As Republicans confront the thorny realities of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, groups representing patients with the most serious diseases fear those plans could return the US health care system to one in which sick people are not guaranteed health insurance. It comes down to the individual mandate, the law’s most unpopular provision, which required every American to buy insurance or face a penalty. (Facher, 2/9)
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