In This Edition:
From Kaiser Health News:
Critics say the proposed changes could poison one of the nation’s healthiest marketplaces, driving up premiums and drawing in only the sickest patients. Republicans and industry analysts call those concerns overblown. (Chad Terhune, 3/10)
Blue Shield of California is hoping to steer consumers to "preferred" pharmacies where drugs are cheaper and copays lower. (Pauline Bartolone, 3/10)
Kaiser Health News is working with ProPublica and other news organizations to collect and analyze letters and emails from elected officials to constituents on the ACA, beginning with a misleading missive by Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt. Send us more! (Charles Ornstein, ProPublica, 3/10)
Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Dead Serious?'" by Dave Coverly, Speed Bump.
Here's today's health policy haiku:
HOW LAWMAKERS COMMUNICATE WITH CONSTITUENTS ON THE HEALTH LAW
Looking at lingo:
Is what they say really true?
We’re gonna find out!
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:
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) used his regular Thursday press conference to offer a power point presentation -- complete with charts and graphs -- to defend the GOP House bill to replace the health law.
The Hill: Ryan Brings Out Slideshow To Sell GOP Healthcare Bill
Jacket off and sleeves rolled up, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Thursday ditched the podium and delivered a 25-minute TED Talk-like presentation on why the new GOP health bill represents the best, and perhaps only, chance to repeal ObamaCare. “This is the closest we will ever get to repealing and replacing ObamaCare,” Ryan told reporters at the end of his slideshow presentation. “The time is here; the time is now. This is the moment.”The Speaker typically stands behind a podium and answers questions from reporters during his Thursday news briefings. But on this day, reporters in the room weren’t the intended audience. (Wong, 3/9)
NPR: House Speaker Paul Ryan Sells Health Care Bill As 'Once-In-A-Lifetime' Chance
"This is the chance. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said the speaker, roving the stage with a wireless mic, gesturing at both the audience in front of him and the PowerPoint presentation behind him. TED Talk? Late-night infomercial? Nope — it was House Speaker Paul Ryan, making a hard pitch for his health care plan after a week of loud conservative criticism. (Detrow, 3/9)
USA Today: Republican Leaders Warn That Changing Health Care Bill Would Doom It In Senate
House Republican leaders warned their members Thursday that any major changes to the proposed GOP health care bill will prevent its passage in the Senate and kill their best shot at ending Obamacare. Those warnings came as both the House Ways and Means Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committee approved the GOP's American Health Care Act on Thursday without significant amendments after marathon debates. (Kelly, 3/9)
Morning Consult: GOP Leaders Say Republicans Won’t Get 2nd Chance On Health Care
Congressional Republican leaders are pushing back against party criticism of their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. In media appearances on Thursday, House and Senate leaders drove home the message that their plan is Republicans’ best shot to make good on their No. 1 campaign promise. “The time is here, the time is now, this is the moment and this is the closest that will ever happen,” Speaker Paul Ryan said at his weekly press conference. “It really comes down to a binary choice.” (Reid, 3/9)
Politico: Three Misleading Claims From Paul Ryan's Obamacare Lecture
With his jacket off and sleeves rolled up, House Speaker Paul Ryan made the case for the Republican health care law Thursday, walking through a 35-minute PowerPoint presentation to a packed crowd of reporters and millions of viewers watching on the three cable TV networks. It was quintessential Ryan, calmly explaining the details of the American Health Care Act looking more like a college professor than a professional politician. But in making his case, Ryan made a series of misleading statements, both about the current state of Obamacare and the details of the replacement bill. (Vinik, 3/9)
The Wall Street Journal: Ads Push Conservatives To Get On Board With GOP Health Plan
A GOP outside group closely aligned with Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) is set to begin airing ads targeted at 30 members of the Freedom Caucus, urging their constituents to call them to vote in favor of Republican leadership’s bill to replace the Affordable Care Act. The ads, paid for by the American Action Network, a nonprofit not required to disclose its donors, mark the first time this year that a major outside group is spending money to keep members of the Republican Party in line. The group is spending $500,000 to air the ads for two weeks, bringing its total spending on the GOP health-care plan to over $8 million since January. (Hackman, 3/9)
The Hill: Ryan Pushes Back Against Critics Panning Health Plan As 'Entitlement'
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Thursday sought to push back against criticism from the right that the GOP leadership’s healthcare bill amounts to another “entitlement” program like ObamaCare. During an interview on Sean Hannity’s radio show, Ryan argued that replacing the 2010 law’s subsidies to help low-income people buy health insurance with tax credits was not the same as directly giving people federal aid. (Marcos, 3/9)
The Hill: Right Targets Ryan — Not Trump — On ObamaCare Plan
President Trump has so far managed to avoid becoming a target for the conservative backlash to Speaker Paul Ryan’s ObamaCare repeal and replace plan, even as the White House vigorously whips support for the bill. Ryan hasn’t been so lucky. Breitbart News, which has long been one of Ryan’s most vocal foes, panned his American Health Care Act as “Speaker Ryan’s ObamaCare 2.0.” (Easley and Wong, 3/10)
Ryan also has other health-related items on his legislative to-do list -
Politico: Ryan Planning More Health Care Votes Alongside Repeal Effort
House Republicans will vote on a second health care bill the week they vote to repeal Obamacare, Speaker Paul Ryan told Sean Hannity on Thursday afternoon. The Wisconsin Republican did not divulge many details about the legislation, though he said it would likely allow people to purchase insurance through association health plans. Such a proposal has always been part of the GOP alternative, Ryan told Hannity, but Senate rules bar leadership from including it in their fast-tracked repeal bill. (Bade, 3/9)
Talk got tough as Democrats struggled to slow the measure's progress. But, ultimately, both the House Ways and Means and the Energy and Commerce committees approved the American Health Care Act along party-line votes.
The Wall Street Journal: GOP Health Plan Advances After Clearing Two House Committees
Republicans advanced legislation through two House committees on Thursday as part of their goal to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, but signs of discord spread around the capital as conservative lawmakers warned this version of the health-law overhaul won’t pass. ... Conservatives fired warning shots at Republican leaders in an open challenge to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), who said Republicans could either line up behind the House bill or renege on their promise to repeal the law. (Hughes, Armour and son, 3/9)
The Washington Post: Obamacare Revision Clears Two House Committees As Trump, Others Tried To Tamp Down Backlash
The GOP proposal cleared the Ways and Means and the Energy and Commerce committees on party-line votes after marathon sessions that lasted through Wednesday night and into Thursday. It now heads to yet another panel, the Budget Committee, and it remains on track to land on the House floor by month’s end. But the proposal faces challenges with both GOP conservatives and moderates, in addition to Democrats, many of whom questioned the lightning-fast process and raised dueling qualms about its policy provisions. Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) appeared to echo a Democratic attack on the House legislation, saying lawmakers need to see the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimate of how the bill will affect the federal deficit and the number of insured Americans. (DeBonis, Sullivan and Snell, 3/9)
The Associated Press: GOP Leaders Claim Momentum As Health Bill Clears Hurdles
Leaders are aiming for passage by the full House in the next couple of weeks, and from there the legislation would go to the Senate and, they hope, on to Trump's desk. The president has promised to sign it, declaring over Twitter on Thursday, "We are talking to many groups and it will end in a beautiful picture!" Yet at the same time the president is leaving himself a political out, privately telling conservative leaders that if the whole effort fails, Democrats will ultimately shoulder the blame for the problems that remain. That's according to a participant in the meeting Wednesday who spoke only on condition of anonymity to relay the private discussion. (Werner and Fram, 3/9)
Bloomberg: Republican Health Bill Clears Hurdle As House Panels Approve
The House Energy and Commerce Committee, after a 27-hour session that saw tempers flare as Democrats tried to delay the legislation, approved the bill by a 31-23 vote with only minor changes. The vote came after the Ways and Means Committee wrapped up 18 hours of debate on its piece of the proposal, which it passed without any changes. The two measures will be combined and sent to the Budget Committee before heading to the floor. The bill, the American Health Care Act, would repeal Obamacare’s requirement that individuals have, and employers offer, health coverage and would eliminate many taxes on the wealthy, insurers and drugmakers used to fund Obamacare. The proposal includes a refundable, age-based tax credit to help people buy insurance and a wind-down of an expansion of Medicaid over a period of years. (Edney and Tracer, 3/9)
Among the key complaints, according to The Wall Street Journal, are that the tax credits are too broad and amount to a new government entitlement and spending limits on the Accountable Care Act's Medicaid expansion are phased in too slowly. The message from this part of the GOP is that the current House blueprint does not go far enough.