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5. Political Cartoon: 'Cover Up?'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Cover Up?'" by Lisa Benson.

Here's today's health policy haiku:


Geriatricians …
‘Experts in complexity’…
Why not consult them?

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Summaries Of The News:

Health Law

6. Repeal No Longer The Slam Dunk It Used To Be In The House

It was believed that the Senate would be the chamber where efforts to dismantle the law would face the most challenges, but as Republicans become more divided on how to move forward with repeal, the House might be the problem child. Meanwhile, new ads supporting repeal are going after vulnerable Democrats, lawmakers may be able to roll back insurance regulations through reconciliation and why some want to keep the Cadillac tax.

The New York Times: Repeal Of Health Law Faces Obstacles In House, Not Just In Senate
Ever since Republicans got down to the business of repealing the Affordable Care Act, the Senate has been singled out as the likely problem. Any plan that could zoom through the House would hit roadblocks among Senate Republicans, many of whom have resisted a wholesale repeal of the health law without a robust replacement plan. But after weeks of loud protests, boisterous town hall meetings and scores of quieter meetings with health care professionals, patients, caregivers and hospital managers in their districts, it is becoming increasingly likely that a consensus in the House may be just as hard to reach. (Steinhauer, 2/23)

The Hill: GOP Groups Ramp Up Pressure On Lawmakers Over ObamaCare
Republican groups are putting increasing pressure on both Democratic and GOP lawmakers through new ad campaigns to urge them to repeal and replace ObamaCare. One Nation, an advocacy group aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), is launching TV ads in nine states as part of an existing $3 million ad campaign. The ads will run in Missouri, Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio, Maine, Arizona, Alaska, Utah and Nevada over the next 10 days. In the next wave of radio and digital ads, the group will target Michigan and Tennessee. (Hagen, 2/22)

CQ Roll Call: Rollback Of Health Care Law Insurance Rules Seen As Possible
Republicans working on the repeal and replacement of the health care law have assumed that they would not be able to easily roll back the law's extensive insurance regulations because they would run into problems with Senate rules. That may be the case. But a former public trustee for Social Security and Medicare argues that it should be possible, without taking a position on whether that's what Republicans should do. Charles Blahous, a senior research fellow at the right-leaning Mercatus Center of George Mason University and former National Economic Council official, says after his review of a Congressional Budget Office report that Republicans might have the option of using the expedited budget reconciliation process to repeal some insurance regulations in the 2010 health care law. (Krawzak, 2/22)

The Fiscal Times: Why Budget Hawks Want To Keep Obama’s ‘Cadillac Tax’ 
In brief remarks on Wednesday, President Trump reiterated his promise that the administration, in concert with Congressional Republicans, will release a plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act within the next few weeks. If there is indeed a proposal on the way, Trump and Congress will have to find a way to pay for revamping a healthcare system that is now largely funded through taxes that are a core element of the ACA. (Garver, 2/22)

Meanwhile, mayors speak out about the importance of the health law —

The Hill: US Mayors Hold 'Day Of Action' For ObamaCare 
More than 60 mayors across the country plan to hold a national day of action Wednesday urging Congress not to repeal ObamaCare. Mayors from states including New York, South Carolina and Ohio will spend the day highlighting the impact repealing the healthcare law can have at the local level. "We urge Congress to take into consideration the effect that the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) will have on our nation’s cities large and small, urban and rural," the mayors wrote in a letter to congressional leadership.  (Hellmann, 2/22)

Marketplace: Nation’s Mayors Hold 'Day Of Action' On ACA
Mayors around the country are holding what they’re calling a “day of action” Wednesday to warn of the risks to their cities if Congress repeals the Affordable Care Act without an effective replacement. More than 50 mayors are hosting town halls and other events pressing lawmakers to preserve key parts of the law, which has helped reduce the country’s uninsured rate to a record low. (Scott, 2/22)

And KHN answers questions about the future of repeal —

Kaiser Health News: KHN On Call: What’s Next For The ACA?
Health care under the Affordable Care Act is poised to change — again. The Republican-led Congress has vowed to “repeal and replace” the health law known as Obamacare. That has left many people anxious and confused about what will happen and when. So [we] asked listeners to post questions on Twitter and Facebook, and we will be answering some of them here and on the radio in the weeks ahead. (Rovner, 2/23)

7. With HSAs, Republicans Want Americans To Have Some Skin In The Game

Health savings accounts are a popular feature in Republicans' plans to replace the Affordable Care Act, with the idea that patients who are spending their own money will do more to shop around for the best price.

The Hill: GOP Healthcare Plans Push Health Savings Account Expansion
As Republicans struggle to coalesce around an ObamaCare replacement plan, they generally agree on one thing: It should expand access to health savings accounts. HSAs — special accounts for medical expenses that come with tax breaks — have long been a cornerstone of Republican healthcare plans. They argue giving people more direct control over their medical expenses will drive down healthcare costs. (Hellmann, 2/22)

In other news —

Los Angeles Times: Obamacare 101: Are Health Insurance Marketplaces In A Death Spiral?
It’s been a rocky few months for the health insurance marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act. Even if you’re not one of the roughly 11 million Americans who rely on these online exchanges to get your health insurance, you’ve probably seen the headlines about rising premiums and insurance companies pulling out of the system. (Levey, 2/23)

Politico Pro: Single Payer — Could California Pull It Off? 
When liberal California looks beyond the repeal of Obamacare, it sees a glimmer of single-payer on the horizon. Single payer or “Medicare-for-all,” the universal health care system long favored by the left and championed by Sen. Bernie Sanders as he ran for the Democratic presidential nomination, is getting another look in California as political leaders and health experts grapple with what post-Obamacare health coverage could look like under President Donald Trump. Legislation to create a Medicare-for-all system was introduced in the state Senate last week. (Colliver, 2/22)