In This Edition:

From Kaiser Health News:

Kaiser Health News Original Stories

1. Trump, Dems Look For Common Ground On Drug Prices

Two Democratic congressmen met with President Trump to seek his support for a bill to expand the government’s ability to negotiate drug prices, but it’s not clear it would have much impact or will gain support. (Sarah Jane Tribble, 3/9)

3. Political Cartoon: 'Clean Bill Of Health?'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Clean Bill Of Health?'" by Jen Sorensen.

Here's today's health policy haiku:


Wait... he met with Dems?
On controlling those drug costs?
This is worth a tweet!

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Summaries Of The News:

Capitol Hill Watch

4. Ryan Pushes Health Bill Forward In 'Rocky Rollout'

The repeal-and-replace plan cleared its first hurdle when it was approved by the House Ways & Means Committee, but the process was acrimonious -- marked by Democratic efforts to slow progress. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) hopes the measure will clear the full House by the end of the week, but he is facing pressure from his party's right wing to make the bill a more aggressive repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

The Wall Street Journal: Opposition Mounts As GOP’s Health Bill Undergoes Review
Republicans scored a victory early Thursday, pushing a measure through the House Ways and Means Committee repealing tax penalties on people who don’t buy insurance. House Republican leaders are under pressure to ease passage through the House by making changes that appease conservatives who want a more aggressive repeal of the ACA. Those changes risk further jeopardizing support in the Senate, where centrist Republicans have said they are concerned the proposal will cause too many people to lose coverage, particularly those with low incomes. (Armour, Hackman and Rubin, 3/9)

The New York Times: Health Bill Clears House Panel In Pre-Dawn Hours
The critical House Ways and Means Committee gave a pre-dawn approval Thursday morning to a major part of the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, moving Republicans a step closer toward a full vote on the measure over the growing opposition of senators, health care providers and some conservatives. Republicans on the panel held together and rejected a slew of Democratic amendments while doing little on their own to change the health bill. (Kaplan, Goodnough and Steinhauer, 3/9)

CQ Roll Call: Ways And Means Advances Obamacare Repeal
Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee took a major step toward overturning wide swaths of President Barack Obama’s health care law in a markup Thursday morning, advancing their part of a House bill at 4:16 a.m. on a party-line vote of 23-16. The House Budget Committee is expected to combine the language with another repeal measure the Energy and Commerce Committee oversees before the full House floor can vote on the package. Republicans are moving forward with an aggressive timeline to have both chambers clear the legislation before they recess next on April 7. (Mershon, 3/9)

Politico: Ryan Defends Bumpy Obamacare Repeal Rollout
House Speaker Paul Ryan defended what has been a bumpy rollout for House Republicans’ plan to repeal Obamacare on Wednesday night, calling early complaints about the bill "typical growing pains." Ryan said it reflected months of planning and represented just one step of a three-step plan to fully repeal and replace the law, during an appearance on Fox News' "Tucker." (Jackson, 3/8)

Modern Healthcare: House Hearings On ACA Repeal Bill Quickly Turn Acrimonious 
Democrats on the two committees marking up the proposed American Health Care Act did everything they could to block the bill's advance until the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office scores it on cost and coverage impact, which is expected sometime next week. They also pressed Republicans on why they are trying to ram the bill through with no hearings or expert witnesses, unlike the extensive hearing process preceding passage of the ACA. Democrats stressed the likelihood that the bill's reduced premium tax credits and Medicaid spending cuts would increase the nation's uninsured rate, drive up uncompensated care and cause hospitals to lay off workers. (Dickson and Meyer, 3/8)

Politico: Democrats Thwart Progress On Obamacare Repeal
House Democrats on Wednesday fought to stall an Obamacare repeal bill that Republicans, still facing deep intraparty divisions over the measure, are trying to push toward the House floor and eventually the White House. The first public debates over the bill were a mirror image of the bitter 2009 debate over the passage of Obamacare, with accusations about a lack of transparency and the majority party rushing things through. But this time, it was Democrats leveling the charges. (Haberkorn, Demko and Cancryn, 3/8)

CQ Roll Call: Democrats Force Overnight Markup Of GOP Health Care Bill
A House Energy and Commerce Committee markup of the Republican draft language to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law continued overnight and into the morning largely as a result of tactics by the Democrats to delay the legislation from advancing. The marathon markup was expected to continue well beyond sunrise.  After more than 18 hours, the panel had addressed only six of the over 100 potential amendments on the legislation. Four of those were defeated by the GOP majority. Two were offered and withdrawn by Republican lawmakers. (Williams, 3/9)

CQ Roll Call: Spicer Vow On Obamacare Repeal Bill Ruffles House Chairman
House Rules Chairman Pete Sessions on Wednesday angrily warned White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer to stay in "his lane" after Spicer said a bill to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law would be considered in the House under an open rule. ... Sessions' remarks were met with brief silence by the committee. “I’ll pass that on,” Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said to laughs in the room. Spicer, discussing the GOP bill to dismantle the health care law (PL 111-148, PL 111-152), said that "every member of the House and the Senate will be able to have their opportunity to have amendments offered through the committee process and on the floor.” (Mejdrich 3/8)

CQ Roll Call: Fiscal 2018 Budget Parked Until Health Care Bill Finished
Work on the fiscal 2018 budget resolution appears on hold until after Congress passes a repeal of the 2010 health care law. But Republicans on the Budget and Appropriations committees do not appear concerned about the delayed timeline or the upcoming budget request from the White House, which will ask lawmakers to increase defense discretionary spending by $54 billion and pay for it by an equal cut to domestic discretionary spending bills. (Shutt, 3/8)

5. GOP Lawmakers Wrestle With Choice Between Their Replace Goal And What Some View As 'Obamacare Lite'

Within the Republican caucus, the House health plan is drawing concern and even opposition from both conservative and moderate lawmakers. The plan is also highlighting the divide among some GOP governors, especially those in states that chose to pursue the health law's Medicaid expansion, and congressional leaders. And the measure, in its current form, could face challenges when it reaches the Senate, where Republicans have a slimmer margin of victory.

Bloomberg: Ryan Ready To Twist Arms To Sell Obamacare Plan To House GOP 
House Speaker Paul Ryan has used a soft touch to win over rebellious conservatives. But, with his Obamacare replacement bill at stake, he’s delivering a tougher message: It’s time to fall in line. “This is an all-hands-on-deck, because you know what? We all ran on repealing and replacing Obamacare,” Ryan said Wednesday, warning that the health care system will collapse if Congress doesn’t act. “This is why we have to pass it with something better.” The with-us-or-against-us tone is a departure for Ryan, who has up to now trod carefully around the fiercely anti-establishment members who helped oust his predecessor, John Boehner. (Edgerton, 3/9)

The Associated Press: Health Bill Highlights Divide Between Governors, House GOP
Republican governors complain that a GOP proposal to replace former President Barack Obama's health care law would force millions of lower-income earners off insurance rolls or stick states with the cost of keeping them covered. Governors, especially those from political battleground states, were generally cool to the bill put forth in the Republican-controlled U.S. House. Some signaled that they would continue working on their own legislation to compete with the measure introduced Monday. (Beaumont and Noon, 3/8)

Los Angeles Times: Some GOP Governors Assail New Healthcare Proposal Backed By Trump
In the days since House Republicans unveiled a replacement to the Affordable Care Act, some GOP governors have a message: Not so fast. The proposed legislation, which is supported by President Trump, would, among other things, make significant changes to Medicaid programs that have been expanded under the Affordable Care Act, also commonly referred to as Obamacare. (Lee, 3/8)

Politico: The Republicans Who Could Tell Trump To Take A Hike On Health Care
Hard-line conservatives have threatened to upend the GOP’s drive to replace Obamacare, but the real peril may come from a quieter group of moderates. The two dozen House Republicans who outran President Donald Trump at home — in some cases surviving even as Hillary Clinton won their districts — are now facing a vote on health care that could put their political careers on the line. Though Obamacare has never been widely popular, the law has gained support in recent weeks as Republicans inch closer to repealing it. And the GOP plan to replace it is drawing fire from important constituencies, from hospitals to AARP. (Cheney and Bade, 3/8)

NPR: On Obamacare Replacement Plan, Freedom Caucus Members Face Crossroads
Some of the most conservative members of the House are at a crossroads over the plan from GOP leadership and the White House to replace the Affordable Care Act. Those lawmakers say their choice is between supporting a bill that goes against many of their principles, or falling in line behind President Trump — who won overwhelming support in their district. (Taylor, 3/8)

Politico: The Many Ways The Senate Could Tank Obamacare Repeal
Speaker Paul Ryan guarantees h

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