In This Edition:
From Kaiser Health News:
Hundreds of drug brands are being made in giant contract facilities. When a plant shuts down, a widespread drain on supply can result. (Sydney Lupkin, 3/2)
A new study shows that 83 percent of the largest patient advocacy groups take contributions from drug, medical device or biotech firms. (Emily Kopp, 3/1)
Sexually transmitted diseases are at an all-time high across the United States. Syphilis among women and babies is a particularly serious problem in Louisiana, California and Georgia. (Anna Gorman, 3/2)
Latino parents who speak only Spanish are less likely to report having satisfactory experiences with their children's doctors than Latino parents who speak English, a new California study shows. (Ana B. Ibarra, 3/2)
The health insurance company, which operates in 12 states plus Puerto Rico, grew out of a network of Southern California clinics founded in 1980. Molina’s track record of working with low-income patients has served it well under Obamacare. (April Dembosky, KQED, 3/2)
Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Pass Up?'" by Chip Bok.
Here's today's health policy haiku:
A DROP IN THE BUCKET
Health care tax credits
Never enough to cover
Real patients' care costs.
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:
How to help Americans afford health care is one of the most divisive parts of the Republicans' plan to dismantle and replace the health law. And, although President Donald Trump mentioned tax credits in his address to Congress on Tuesday, those who are in opposition to this approach don't see the battle as being over.
The New York Times: Republican Unity On Health Care Is Elusive, Despite Trump’s Support
President Trump’s address to Congress on Tuesday night buoyed House Republican leaders who were hopeful that his leadership would unite fractious lawmakers around a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. But fundamental disagreements still divide Republicans on one of the central promises of their 2016 campaigns: repealing the health law. (Kaplan and Pear, 3/1)
The Washington Post: Trump’s Words On Obamacare Stir Up Intraparty Feud
President Trump ascended the bulliest of pulpits Tuesday to address a joint session of Congress. It turns out it was his fellow Republicans who needed some bullying — specifically, on their plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The leader of the Republican Party took some tentative steps in his address to the joint congressional session toward a position in the Obamacare fight looming over Capitol Hill. But the president’s words sparked as much debate as they quashed. (DeBonis and Snell, 3/1)
The Associated Press: Trump Speech Leaves GOP Encouraged, But Still Divided
[Even] though Trump offered some specifics on health care and appeared to embrace a key element of a leadership-backed plan emerging in the House, his comments did little to settle an extremely difficult debate over Republicans’ top legislative priority. Indeed, a day after the president called for “unity and strength,” Republicans looked as divided as ever as they try to make good on seven years of promises to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s health care law. Most said Trump’s speech hadn’t changed that or brought them much closer together. (Werner, 3/1)
Los Angeles Times: Republicans Still Waiting For Trump To Take Charge On Obamacare And Taxes
By now, Republicans in Congress thought they would be working closely with the White House on signature items of the GOP agenda — repealing and replacing Obamacare, overhauling the tax code. Many hoped President Trump would play the classic executive’s role: Rolling up his sleeves to chart the direction, settle disputes and spend his political capital to bring wayward lawmakers in line. But instead, Trump has been reluctant to take charge of Republicans’ policy priorities, and GOP lawmakers worry their early momentum is fading amid intraparty squabbles over legislation and Trump’s tendency to flit from topic to topic when what they most need now is focus. (Mascaro, 3/2)
Politico: No Breakthrough On Obamacare Repeal
Senate Republicans aren't backing the latest House plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, saying they are reserving judgment until House leaders provide key details about the proposal they intend to advance as soon as next week. Top House Republican committee chairmen Kevin Brady and Greg Walden on Wednesday crossed the Capitol to rally support among their Senate counterparts for their bill but provided lawmakers with few details, such as a cost estimate, legislative language or policy details, even as they walked senators through the broad outlines of the plan. (Haberkorn, Everett and Cancryn, 3/1)
The Wall Street Journal: House Republicans Confront A More Cautious Trump On Fiscal Policy
There is the Republican president GOP lawmakers dreamily envisioned signing their legislation into law. And then there is President Donald Trump. Mr. Trump, who tore up modern political conventions during his tumultuous campaign, has turned out to be a more cautious figure in the White House—at least on fiscal policy—than are many congressional Republicans. For all the talk of Mr. Trump transforming government, it’s the House Republicans who are willing to push for big, disruptive changes to federal safety-net programs, the tax code and the Affordable Care Act—and to take on the political risk that those changes would bring. Mr. Trump, by contrast, is treading more gingerly. (son, 3/1)
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Republicans Make Big Push To Forge Final Health Care Deal
Spurred on by President Donald Trump’s latest call for action to repeal and replace the Obama health law, Republicans accelerated their work on Wednesday in a push to forge a GOP health care agreement, but even with a new sense of urgency, Republican leaders still face divides in the Congress on several key issues that could imperil the effort. Let’s take a look at some of the issues that are involved in GOP discussions. (Dupree, 3/2)
CQ Roll Call: Senators Quiet After Briefing On Obamacare Replacement Plan
More than a dozen Republican senators kept mum after a Wednesday closed-door briefing on a new House proposal to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, with nearly all declining to either praise or critique the plan they were presented. The conference heard from House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady of Texas and Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon, the two House leaders with jurisdiction over the measure. Several senators said the lawmakers outlined the broad strokes of what the House plans to do but did not share legislative text or summaries. Few senators commented. Most that did said only that the meeting was constructive. (Mershon, 3/1)
The Hill: Rubio: Lack Of GOP Consensus On Healthcare Is Not A 'Weakness'
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Wednesday insisted that GOP lawmakers' competing opinions on potential ObamaCare replacement plans are not a cause for concern but rather a matter of "good public policy."...Republicans are scrambling to build consensus on how they will replace the Affordable Care Act. So far, myriad options have been floated, but no singular plan has been put forward by the party. The lack of consensus has made it difficult to repeal former President Obama's signature healthcare law after Republicans campaigned on a pledge to repeal and replace it. President Trump said earlier this month that a replacement plan would come in "a couple of weeks," but no plan has been proposed yet. (Greenwood, 3/1)
The leaders are trying to avoid a repeat of a draft being leaked. Meanwhile, House lawmakers are expected to vote on a repeal bill next week.
Bloomberg: Republicans Hide New Obamacare Draft Under Shroud Of Secrecy
House Republican leaders have a new version of their major Obamacare repeal and replacement bill. They just don’t want you to see it. The document is being treated a bit like a top-secret surveillance intercept. It is expected to be available to members and staffers on the House Energy and Commerce panel starting Thursday, but only in a dedicated reading room, one Republican lawmaker and a committee aide said. Nobody will be given copies to take with them. The unusual secrecy is a reflection of the sensitivity -- and the stakes -- surrounding the GOP effort to rewrite the Affordable Care Act, a top priority of President Donald Trump, who has yet to offer his own plan. (House and John, 3/1)
Morning Consult: House Panel to Mark Up Obamacare Repeal Bill Next Week, Trump Ally Says
A House panel is expected to vote next week on legislation that would gut the Affordable Care Act, a key congressional ally of President Donald Trump told reporters on Wednesday. Rep. Chris Collins, a New York Republican, said a draft bill to repeal and begin replacing Obamacare would likely be made available to members of the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee for review on Thursday. A subcommittee mark-up is expected to be held next week. (Reid, 3/1)