Kaiser Health News Original Stories

3. More Health Plan Choices At Work. What's The Catch?

Despite the benefits to a company's bottom line, and more choices for employees, John Henry Foster is one of relatively few businesses using a private health insurance exchange. (Mark Zdechlik, Minnesota Public Radio, 7/21)

4. Political Cartoon: 'Sick Burn?'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Sick Burn?'" by Dave Coverly, Speed Bump.

Here's today's health policy haiku:

KASICH’S HEALTH POLICIES AND THE GOP PRESIDENTIAL RACE

Kasich jumps into
field of hopefuls. Medicaid
could work against him.

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Campaign 2016

5. Kasich To Enter Race For GOP Presidential Nomination

The Ohio governor and former congressman faces a number of challenges, including his support for Medicaid expansion in his state, as he joins the crowded Republican field.

The New York Times: John Kasich To Enter Crowded 2016 Race Facing Job Of Catch-Up
Gov. John R. Kasich, a blunt-spoken and unorthodox Republican who bucked his party by expanding Medicaid under President Obama’s health care law and says politicians must “reach out and help those who live in the shadows,” is expected to announce Tuesday that he is joining his party’s long list of candidates for president. Mr. Kasich, 63, would become the 16th prominent Republican to enter the 2016 field. As a two-term governor in a critical swing state — no candidate since John F. Kennedy in 1960 has won the White House without winning Ohio — he will be a credible candidate, though his late entry means he has catch-up work to do. (Stolberg, 7/21)

The New York Times: John Kasich On The Issues
Budget and the Economy: Mr. Kasich broke with other conservative governors by accepting funds for the expansion of Medicaid under Mr. Obama’s Affordable Care Act, though he said he opposed the law. The expansion made 275,000 Ohioans eligible for Medicaid. Mr. Kasich has in recent years defended the social safety net, taking issue with fellow Republicans who slash poverty programs. “I’m concerned about the fact there seems to be a war on the poor,” he said in 2013. He has pointed to his experience as a fiscal hawk as chairman of the House Budget Committee during the Clinton administration, when he proposed alternative budgets that cut federal spending, including military appropriations and entitlements like Medicaid. As Ohio governor, though, Mr. Kasich has emphasized his record of balancing budgets, cutting taxes and, most important, creating jobs — though critics have said he partly benefited from an improving national economy. (Mullany, 7/21)

Los Angeles Times: Ohio's John Kasich Brings Heat, Intrigue To 2016 GOP Race
In a large and varied Republican field, there may be no more confounding presidential candidate than John Kasich. In the 1990s, he was part of the conservative revolution on Capitol Hill. As Ohio governor, he has cut income taxes and government regulation, battled organized labor and approved new restrictions on abortion and voting rights. He also spared several inmates facing execution, supported higher taxes on cigarettes and fracking and horrified conservatives by expanding healthcare access under the Affordable Care Act, throwing in a lecture on what it means to be a good Christian. (Barabak, 7/21)

The Wall Street Journal: Then There Were 16: John Kasich to Enter GOP Fray
The two-term Republican governor’s bid will test whether a candidate who has bucked the right flank of his party on issues ranging from Medicaid expansion to immigration can gain traction in a primary. Mr. Kasich, 63 years old, is counting on his mix of executive and Capitol Hill experience to catapult him to contender status. He’ll also tout his work on national security and budget issues during his tenure as a congressman from 1983 until 2001, as well as the economic turnaround in Ohio. (McCain Nelson, 7/20)

Politico: John Kasich Throws A Hail Mary
The two-term governor will announce his bid during a Tuesday appearance at The Ohio State University, his alma mater, where he will highlight his long career in public office and his success in turning around his state’s troubled economy. ... Nationally, his decision to embrace a key component of Obamacare — the expansion of Medicaid to low-income adults — could hurt him with conservative voters, who despise the president’s health-care law, and puts him at odds with his primary opponents. Kasich, though, has a more immediate concern: qualifying for the first Republican primary debate, slated for Aug. 6 in Cleveland. (Isenstadt, 7/21)

The Washington Post: Ohio’s Kasich Poised To Join Big Field Of GOP Candidates
Kasich served in the House for 18 years and was chairman of the Budget Committee at a time when Washington balanced the federal budget for the first time in a generation. He spent another decade in the business world before winning the governorship in 2010. He won reelection in a landslide last November after his Democratic opponent imploded a few months before the general election. ... In Ohio, he engineered an expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, in contrast to many Republican governors. He has championed spending more money on such things as treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. He cites his religious faith as motivating him to help those in need. (Balz, 7/21)

CNN: John Kasich Rounds Out GOP 2016 Field
Ohio Gov. John Kasich is set to round out the Republican presidential field Tuesday when he formally announces his White House bid. ... He has accepted Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, supports Common Core education standards and has allowed for the possibility of a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. (Burlij and LoBianco, 7/21)

6. Trump's Version Of McCain's Record Helping Veterans Is Misguided, Veterans Groups Say

While Donald Trump backed off his criticism of Sen. John McCain in a Fox interview, a new poll shows the businessman at the top of the 2016 Republican presidential field. Also on the campaign trail, speeches by Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton offer back-to-back looks at their key policy differences, Scott Walker is proving to be a disciplined candidate who stays on message and Bernie Sanders has captured the support of some liberals disappointed by President Barack Obama.

The New York Times: Veterans’ Groups Take Their Shots At Donald Trump As He Backs Off A Bit On McCain
Mr. Trump’s attacks were all the more misguided, veterans’ advocates said, because Mr. McCain has an extensive record of being helpful and involved. ... In just the last year, Mr. McCain was a key player in negotiations with Senator Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who was then chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, to pass a broad-based overhaul of the Department of Veterans Affairs after the disclosure that staff members had been manipulating wait times to make it appear that patients were receiving care faster than they were. Mr. McCain was also a lead sponsor of the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act — one of the first pieces of legislation that became law after Republicans took over Congress this year. (s, 7/20)

The Associated Press: FACT CHECK: Trump Shortchanges McCain's Record On Veterans
TRUMP: "I'm very disappointed in John McCain because the vets are horribly treated in this country. I'm fighting for the vets. I've done a lot for the vets ... He's done nothing to help the vets. And I will tell you, they are living in hell." ... THE FACTS: McCain ... was instrumental in a landmark law approved last year to overhaul the scandal-plagued Department of Veterans Affairs. McCain worked with the chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont, as well as Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chairman of the House veterans panel, to help win passage of the law, which aims to alleviate long delays veterans faced in getting medical care. The VA says it has completed 7 million more appointments for care in the past year, compared with the previous year, but veterans still face increased wait times in Phoenix, Las Vegas and other places. ... McCain pushed for a provision in the law allowing veterans who live more than 40 miles away from a VA health care site to get government-paid care from a local doctor. (7/21)

The Washington Post: Poll: Trump Surges To Big Lead In GOP Presidential Race
Businessman Donald Trump surged into the lead for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, with almost twice the support of his closest rival, just as he ignited a new controversy after making disparaging remarks about Sen. John McCain’s Vietnam War service, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. ... The rankings are more important than early national surveys in previous campaigns because only the top 10 candidates, based on an average of the most recent national polls, will qualify for the first Republican debates. The first debate will be held Aug. 6 in Cleveland. Fox News Channel is the sponsor of that event and established the rules for eligibility. (Balz and Craighill, 7/20)

Los Angeles Times: Bush And Clinton Highlight Sharp Contrast In Dueling Policy Speeches
The speech drew a sharp contrast in tone and content with Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, who has begun rolling out a series of policy proposals, many of which would involve expanding government’s role. ... Jeb Bush’s pledge to “turn off the automatic switch on discretionary spending increases” also struck an odd note. That category of spending, which covers federal spending governed by annual appropriations bills, has been shrinking as a share of the budget. Bush said that he would propose ideas later for the entitlement programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, that account for most of the long-term growth in federal spending. (Lauter, 7/20)

Politico: Scott Walker In Iowa: Relentlessly On Message
In Cedar Rapids, when a voter asked him Friday during a town hall about what he would do to keep jobs in Iowa, Walker took that as an opportunity to dive into his five-point economic plan, making a few connections between Obamacare and her question, but generally sticking to a script that he used everywhere else. (Glueck, 7/20)

7. GOP Presidential Hopeful Scott Walker Signs Abortion Ban

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood makes accusations related to the controversial fetal tissue video released last week by undercover anti-abortion advocates.

The Associated Press: GOP Presidential Hopeful Walker Signs Abortion Ban Bill
Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, one week after launching his bid for the 2016 presidential nomination, signed a bill Monday that outlaws non-emergency abortions at or beyond 20 weeks of pregnancy. Abortion is a core issue for the conservative Republican base whose support Walker will seek as he tries to stand out in a crowded presidential field that also includes former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and billionaire Donald Trump. (Richmond, 6/20)

Politico: Scott Walker Signs Wisconsin Abortion Bill
The legislation makes performing an abortion a felony punishable by up to three and a half years in prison and $10,000 in fines. The only way abortions after 20 weeks are allowed is if the mother is likely to die or be severely injured. Anti-abortion activists have coalesced around 20 weeks because, they say, that’s when fetuses begin to feel pain. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, however, says that pain doesn’t occur until 27 weeks. (Collins, 7/20)

The Hill: Walker Signs 20-Week Abortion Ban
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Monday denounced Walker for signing the bill. “This legislation is nothing more than a timely favor that will rally the GOP base just days after Scott Walker’s presidential campaign kickoff,” said Kaylie Hanson, D
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