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6. Political Cartoon: 'Means Test?'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Means Test?'" by Steve Kelley.

Here's today's health policy haiku:


Sent to quell concerns ...
Trump hopes that the Price is Right.
But is it enough?

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Summaries Of The News:

Capitol Hill Watch

7. GOP Health Plan Will Undergo 'Necessary Improvements,' Ryan Promises Wary Lawmakers

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) tries to salvage support for his plan, as both the right wing and the moderates in his party revolt. What to do with Medicaid is a major issue being worked through.

The Associated Press: GOP Leaders Acknowledge Health Bill Changes, May Delay Vote
Their health care overhaul imperiled from all sides, the White House and top House Republicans acknowledged Wednesday they would make changes to the legislation in hopes of nailing down votes and pushing the party's showpiece legislation through the chamber soon. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., declined to commit to bringing the measure to the House floor next week, a fresh indication of uncertainty. (Fram and Alonso-Zaldivar, 3/15)

The Washington Post: Ryan: Health Care Plan Must Change To Pass The House
Speaking after a private meeting of GOP lawmakers, Ryan said that leaders would “incorporate feedback” from the rank-and-file in response to the CBO findings. He did not repeat his previous comments calling support for the bill a “binary choice” for Republican lawmakers. “Now that we have our score we can make some necessary improvements and refinements to the bill,” he said, referring to the CBO’s estimate of the effect on the number of those covered by health insurance and what the GOP proposal would cost. (DeBonis, 3/15)

Morning Consult: Ryan Open To Changing Health Bill As GOP Struggles To Reach Agreement
[Ryan's] comments mark a change in tone from the Wisconsin Republican, who last week presented the bill in a PowerPoint presentation as a “binary choice” between repealing Obamacare and keeping it. He did not describe what types of changes were being considered. Vice President Mike Pence spent much of Wednesday afternoon meeting with House members, including the conservative Republican Study Committee and moderate Tuesday Group. Members said Pence indicated the administration was open to changes, but has not specifically backed certain policies. (McIntire, 3/15)

WBUR: Paul Ryan Says Health Care Bill On Track, Despite Increasing GOP Opposition 
"This is the plan we ran on all of last year. This is the plan that we've been working — House, Senate, White House — together on," House Speaker Paul Ryan told FOX Business News. "Now as we get closer to finish, going through the committee process, you inevitably make those refinements and improvements as you go through that process. That's exactly where we are right now." (Davis, 3/15)

Politico: Ryan, Pence Race To Salvage Obamacare Repeal Amid GOP Dissent
Meanwhile, members of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus declared that they believed they had enough commitments from their own allies to kill any attempt by Republican leaders to ram through the current bill without significant changes. They said that they intend to present to leadership an amendment on Friday that they say could unite conservatives and moderates. “It’s up for us, moderates and conservatives, to come together,” said Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows coming out of a Wednesday evening meeting. (Bade, Cheney and Haberkorn, 3/16)

The Wall Street Journal: Republicans Explore Changes To Health-Care Plan
In conversations with House leaders and administration officials, lawmakers focused on proposed changes to Medicaid, with conservative House Republicans pressing for work requirements and an earlier phaseout of the expansion started under the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. Some Senate Republicans also sought to boost the value of tax credits to give more aid to low-income and older people who buy insurance. Others wanted to strike a provision that calls for insurers to charge higher premiums to consumers who let their coverage lapse, a measure intended to encourage people to buy insurance. (Armour, son and Radnofsky, 3/16)

CQ Roll Call: Moderate Republicans Oppose Earlier Medicaid Freeze Date
Moderate Republicans are rejecting changes to the health care bill that would more quickly end enrollment in Obamacare's Medicaid expansion program, calling the idea a "nonstarter." The two co-chairmen of the moderate Tuesday Group, Reps. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., and Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., both used that phrase when describing the suggested change. Conservatives, especially in the conservative Republican Study Committee, said earlier on Wednesday they wanted to freeze new enrollment in Medicaid expansion states by 2018, rather than by 2020 as the current package states. (Mershon, 3/15)

The Hill: Conservative RSC Says It's Close To Backing ObamaCare Repeal Bill 
The conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC) says it is very close to supporting the House GOP's healthcare plan if changes are made to its Medicaid provisions. Vice President Pence met with members of the Republican Study Committee Wednesday and indicated that the White House is open to accepting some changes to the bill. The 172-member RSC wants to freeze the expansion of Medicaid earlier, in 2018, and put in place work requirements for able-bodied, childless adults. (Hellmann, Sullivan and Wong, 3/15)

Morning Consult: Medicaid Work Requirements In Focus For GOP Health Bill
A group of conservative House Republicans are pushing for an amendment to the Republican health care bill that would institute work or education requirements for Medicaid, hoping the change would get more conservatives on board and help the legislation move closer to becoming law. (McIntire, 3/15)

The Hill: Medicaid Work Requirements Could Be Added To ObamaCare Bill 
House Republican lawmakers from different factions of the caucus say they are open to adding Medicaid work requirements to their ObamaCare replacement bill, a measure that could help bring conservatives on board without alienating moderates. Medicaid work requirements were one of the main additions that the conservative Republican Study Committee asked for in a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday as leadership looks at changes to the bill to help win more votes. (Sullivan and Wong, 3/15)

Bloomberg: Republicans Mull Dropping Surcharge For Uninsured In Bill 
Republican leaders in Congress may scrap a provision in the House GOP’s Obamacare replacement bill that would require insurers to charge a 30 percent penalty to customers who go without coverage for at least 63 days. ... John Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican senator, confirmed that scrapping the 30 percent surcharge is “being discussed,” but added, “I’m not aware of any decisions.” The Texan said the goal is to craft a bill that can pass the House and Senate. (Kapur and House, 3/15)