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Kaiser Health News Original Stories

6. Political Cartoon: 'Individual Mandate?'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Individual Mandate?'" by Mike Smith, Las Vegas Sun.

Here's today's health policy haiku:


Health problems? What’s first?
Talking to the doc … or just
watching commercials?

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Summaries Of The News:

Health Law

7. Changes To GOP Plan Will Provide Relief To Older Americans, Ryan Promises

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) spoke about the tweaks they would make to the American Health Care Act after the Congressional Budget Office predicted older, rural Americans would be negatively affected under the legislation.

The Associated Press: Ryan: More Help For Older People Needed In GOP Health Bill
Days before a pivotal vote, House Speaker Paul Ryan said Sunday he will seek changes to a GOP health care bill to provide more help to older people. The new willingness to compromise was a bid for more support from moderate Republicans, who expressed continuing unease about the plan to replace Barack Obama's health law unless significant changes were made. (3/19)

The Washington Post: House Health-Care Bill Will Change To Offer More Help To Seniors, Ryan Says
“We think that we should be offering even more assistance than what the bill currently does,” Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a “Fox News Sunday” interview, in which he confirmed that House leaders are eyeing a Thursday vote on its passage. Meanwhile, a key conservative senator said White House officials were continuing to negotiate through the weekend on even more dramatic revisions to the bill in hopes of winning over hard-liners who have threatened to tank the legislation. (DeBonis, 3/19)

The Wall Street Journal: Ryan Confident About Health Plan’s Passage, After Change To Help Seniors
House Speaker Paul Ryan on Sunday expressed confidence that the Republican health-care plan will pass the House later this week, saying his party’s lawmakers are working to make changes to the bill to address remaining concerns, including providing more assistance to older Americans. “I feel very good about it. This is exactly where we want to be,” the Wisconsin Republican said in an interview with “Fox News Sunday.” (Hayashi, 3/19)

Politico: Ryan: Health Care Bill Must Do More For Older People
Ryan's comments came in the wake of a Congressional Budget Office analysis showing that older people could pay higher premiums under the GOP bill. Ryan expressed skepticism about the CBO analysis but said his leadership team is looking at more ways to help older people under the new plan. (Kullgren, 3/19)

Bloomberg: Ryan Plans Tweaks To Health-Care Bill To Help Older People 
“We have to do something about the fact that the House bill disproportionately affects older, rural Americans,” Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. Ryan didn’t say whether he had the 218 votes necessary to pass the bill, which would replace President Barack Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act, but he said he feels “very good about where we are.” (Brody and Edney, 3/19)

The Associated Press: For Many Older Americans, Costs Rise Under GOP Health Plan
Among the groups hardest hit by the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act is one that swung for Donald Trump during last year's presidential race — older Americans who have not yet reached Medicare age. Many of those who buy their own health insurance stand to pay a lot more for their coverage. That is especially true for the nearly 3.4 million older Americans who have enrolled through the government marketplaces, many of whom receive generous federal subsidies through the health care law enacted under former President Barack Obama. (3/19)

Stat: Obamacare Replacement Could Hike Insurance Costs For Some Seniors
Just shy of Medicare eligibility, [Erika] Snyder is part of the age 50 to 64 demographic that would face much higher insurance costs under the GOP plan, known as the American Health Care Act. The law would eliminate Obamacare subsidies that 3 million Americans in that age bracket currently rely on to purchase insurance. It would also allow insurers to charge older people up to 5 times as much as younger Americans for individual policies, while providing an age-based tax credit that experts say would fall far short of covering these additional costs. (Ross, 3/17)

8. Adding Work Requirements For Medicaid Helps Sway Some Reluctant Republicans

President Donald Trump met with members of the Republican Study Committee on Friday to discuss changes they wanted to see made to the American Health Care Act before they could vote for it.

The New York Times: States Could Make Work A Medicaid Requirement Under G.O.P. Deal
President Trump and conservative lawmakers in the House agreed Friday to significant changes to Medicaid that could impose work requirements on able-bodied Medicaid beneficiaries in some states and limit federal funds for the program, as Republican leaders tried to rally balking lawmakers behind legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act. “I want everyone to know, I’m 100 percent behind this,” Mr. Trump said at the White House, where he met with House members in the conservative Republican Study Committee. (Kaplan and Pear, 3/17)

CNN: What's Likely To Change In The GOP Bill To Repeal Obamacare
Also, the legislation would give states the option to receive federal Medicaid funding as a block grant. The current legislation calls for giving states a set amount of money per enrollee, known as a per capita cap system. Both would be a major change from the current way Medicaid is funded, which is open-ended federal support tied to state spending on the program. (Luhby, 3/19)

Roll Call: Key Conservatives Come Around On GOP Health Plan
All but one of the 17 RSC Steering Committee members (not counting four ex-officio members) have committed to voting yes on the bill, eight or nine of whom had shifted from a no or leaning no because of the Medicaid changes, RSC Chairman Mark Walker told reporters at the Capitol. (Bennett and McPherson, 3/17)