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6. Political Cartoon: 'Smash Hit?'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Smash Hit?'" by Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Here's today's health policy haiku:


It's a tough language
To master and much can be
Lost in translation.

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Summaries Of The News:

Capitol Hill Watch

7. 'It’s Not Herding Cats. It’s Herding Ravenous Tigers': Trump, Ryan Work To Corral Reluctant Members

As resistance mounts on Capitol Hill, President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) try to ensure passage of the American Health Care Act. However, the tension may be putting a strain on an already fragile relationship between the two.

The New York Times: Trump And G.O.P. Work To Win Repeal Of Obama’s Health Act
President Trump and House Republican leaders worked Thursday to win conservative support for legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act, offering concessions to speed cutbacks in Medicaid and dismantle more of President Barack Obama’s signature health law. But in a bid to ensure passage of the Republican health care bill in the House, White House and Republican leaders risked losing support in more moderate quarters of their party — not only in the narrowly divided Senate, but in an increasingly nervous House. (Pear and Martin, 3/16)

The New York Times: Trump And Ryan: Health Bill May Test Marriage Of Convenience
President Trump, once the master pitchman for namesake vodka, steaks and now-moldering casinos, seems disinclined to attach his surname to the health care bill some allies have derided as “Ryancare.” He assured Americans on Thursday of the “improvements being made” to legislation that Speaker Paul D. Ryan initially suggested would scarcely change, amid grumblings that the White House is fuming over the plan’s star-crossed rollout. (Flegenheimer and Haberman, 3/17)

Los Angeles Times: Paul Ryan's Make-Or-Break Moment On Obamacare Will Test His Power, Legacy And Relationship With Trump
It’s a make-or-break moment in House Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s crusade to pass the GOP’s Obamacare replacement amid growing opposition from critics in his own party who see a chance to topple not only the bill but perhaps his young speakership as well. No other Republican has staked his political capital on passage of the House GOP plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act as much as Ryan. (Mascaro, 3/17)

Bloomberg: Ryan Clings To Core Of GOP Health Bill As Opposition Mounts
House Speaker Paul Ryan has told senior Republicans that he won’t change the main pillars of his plan to repeal and partially replace Obamacare, even as Republicans search for tweaks that can break their logjam over the legislation. With a steady trickle of Republicans coming out against the bill, Ryan is sending the message he won’t drop any of its four main elements -- refundable tax credits, health savings accounts, the phaseout of Medicaid expansion and the ban on insurers denying coverage over pre-existing conditions -- according to a senior Republican aide. (House, Edgerton and Kapur, 3/16)

The Hill: Ryan Huddles With GOP Factions On Healthcare Bill 
Leaders of the three main factions in the House Republican Conference huddled Thursday with Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to discuss possible changes to the healthcare bill as leaders work to secure enough votes for passage. No agreement was reached at the gathering, but participants described the discussions as productive. (Sullivan and Wong, 3/16)

The Associated Press: Health Bill Short Of Votes, GOP Leaders Look To Trump
Short of votes for their health care bill, Republican congressional leaders turned to President Donald Trump on Thursday to wrangle support for the divisive legislation they hope to push through Congress before Easter. But Trump sounded more like he was at the start of a negotiation than ready to close the deal. And combined with opposition from Republicans of all stripes, the president’s flexible stance suggested final passage of the bill could be delayed, potentially exposing the legislation to the same kind of extended public backlash that undermined former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act from the start. (Werner and Fram, 3/16)

The Associated Press: Wheels Spinning As GOP Looks For Traction On Health Bill
Pulling in different directions, Republicans are striving to get traction for a health care overhaul in danger of being dragged down by intra-party differences. Some GOP governors weighed in Thursday evening in a letter to congressional leaders saying the House bill gives them almost no new flexibility and lacks sufficient resources to protect the vulnerable. (3/17)

The Associated Press: GOP Senator Complicates Trump, Ryan Efforts On Health Care
One of the loudest critics of GOP health legislation is not a Democrat or even a conservative rebel, but a Republican loyalist and staunch defender of President Donald Trump. Freshman Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas is not known for clashing with leadership or plotting with conservative trouble-makers in the House, as Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas are wont to do. Instead the 39-year-old Iraq and Afghanistan combat veteran, the nation's youngest senator, has carved out a hawkish and bold profile on foreign policy that many see as a platform for a future presidential run. (3/17)

The Hill: Sen. Susan Collins Comes Out Against House GOP Healthcare Bill
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a key centrist vote in the Senate, said in an interview published Thursday that she opposes the House GOP ObamaCare replacement bill as it is currently written...Collins pointed to the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the bill earlier this week, which found that 24 million more people would be uninsured by 2026 under the plan. In particular, like other more centrist lawmakers in both chambers, Collins pointed to the finding that low-income people and seniors would have to pay far more for insurance under the House GOP bill than under ObamaCare. (Sullivan, 3/16)

Politico: Collins: I Can’t Vote For GOP Health Bill In Current Form
Sen. Susan Collins on Thursday said she couldn’t back the House GOP’s Obamacare repeal-and-replace legislation, an expected — if crucial — defection for Republicans trying to corral enough votes to enact a repeal bill. “This is not a bill I could support in its current form,” Collins told the Portland Press Herald, saying the American Health Care Act’s coverage cuts go too far. (Diamond, 3/16)

The Hill: Freedom Caucus Chairman: I’m Less Optimistic About Entitlement Reform 
The chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus revealed Thursday that he faced stronger-than-expected pushback from President Trump about entitlement reform in a recent meeting. “I probably was more optimistic on entitlement reform a few weeks ago than I am now,” Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said during a panel on Capitol Hill hosted by the Heritage Foundation. (Marcos, 3/16)