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3. Political Cartoon: 'Holding The Bag?'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Holding The Bag?'" by Lisa Benson.

Here's today's health policy haiku:


Fissures and factions
Taking control did not end
Intra-party strife.

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Summaries Of The News:

Capitol Hill Watch

4. The Trump Ultimatum: House Must Vote Friday On GOP Health Plan

After days of negotiations, President Donald Trump sent a message to Capitol Hill: It's do or die. If the measure fails, he plans to pivot away from the repeal-and-replace effort and move on to his other legislative priorities.

The Washington Post: Trump Delivers Ultimatum To House Republicans: Pass Health-Care Measure On Friday Or He’ll Move On
For Trump, who campaigned as a skilled negotiator capable of forging a good deal on behalf of Americans, it could either vindicate or undercut one of his signature claims. If the measure fails, it would be a defeat for Trump in his first effort to help pass major legislation and it may also jeopardize other items on his wish list, including a tax overhaul and infrastructure spending. Defeat would also mean that Obamacare — something that congressional Republicans have railed against for seven years — would remain in place. (DeBonis and Eilperin, 3/23)

Bloomberg: House GOP Plans Friday Health Bill Vote After Trump Pressure
House Republican leaders expect to vote Friday on their embattled health-care bill, moving on the legislation under pressure by Trump administration officials who voiced urgency during a closed-door meeting on the Capitol with conservative holdouts...The chamber plans to vote on a revised version of the health-care bill that includes a provision that conservatives negotiated with senior White House officials to remove Obamacare’s requirements that certain essential benefits be covered by insurance, according to several lawmakers and aides. (Kapur, House and Dopp, 3/23)

Politico: Trump Demands Friday Vote On Health Care Plan
The move by Trump and Ryan is an enormous gamble, setting up a real cliffhanger when the legislation hits the floor on Friday. ... A loss on the House floor would be a glaring embarrassment for the new president and House speaker — one that could undermine other parts of the GOP legislative agenda, including tax reform. A victory, on the other hand, would provide not just a shot of badly-needed momentum for both men, but undermine the House Freedom Caucus, the group of conservative hard-liners who've fought the GOP health care plan because it doesn't go far enough. (Bade, Cheney and Dawsey, 3/23)

The Wall Street Journal: Trump Says If Vote On Health-Care Bill Fails, Obamacare Stays
The decision to bring the bill to the floor appeared to put an end to days of negotiations, amounting to a calculation that lawmakers would view the vote as a do-or-die moment and opt to follow through on campaign promises to replace former President Barack Obama’s signature legislation with a more conservative alternative. (son, Hughes and Radnofsky, 3/24)

NPR: Trump Ultimatum For House GOP: Vote On Health Bill Or Obamacare Stands
Trump, famous for his deal-making abilities, has tried to woo both unhappy factions of the GOP conference with little success. No consensus was reached during a meeting with the president and the roughly 40 members of the House Freedom Caucus at the White House earlier Thursday. Vice President Pence met with the maybe two dozen moderates in the so-called Tuesday Group, many of whom are also opposed to the bill. (Montanaro and Taylor, 3/23)

The Hill: Trump Threatens To Leave ObamaCare In Place If Repeal Bill Fails 
If the vote fails, Trump will move on to other priorities and ObamaCare will stay as the law of the land, Mulvaney said. The developments set up a likely vote on the measure Friday afternoon. Dozens of Republicans have vowed to oppose the bill, putting them into a direct confrontation with their president. With all of the House's Democrats expected to vote against the bill, the GOP can only afford 22 defections. (Wong, 3/23)

Los Angeles Times: Trump Threatens To Leave Obamacare In Place If GOP Bill Fails
"The message is tomorrow it's up, it's down — we expect it to be up — but it's done tomorrow,” Mulvaney said Thursday night. It remained unclear whether Trump’s extraordinary ultimatum was real or a pressure tactic designed to bring unruly Republicans in line. Despite personal appeals from the president and a flurry of last-minute negotiations with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), wary GOP lawmakers remained unconvinced, leaving leaders shy of the votes needed to advance the legislation. (Mascaro and Levey, 3/23)

The Hill: The Hill's Whip List: 34 GOP 'No' Votes On ObamaCare Repeal Plan 
House GOP leaders on Thursday delayed a vote on legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare as they scrambled to win enough votes to pass the measure. House Republicans had planned to vote on the bill on Thursday's seventh anniversary of ObamaCare becoming law. But GOP leaders appeared to be short of the 215 votes they needed. (3/8)

San Francisco Chronicle: Trump Delivers Ultimatum In Move To Pass Health Care Bill 
Trump’s move was an astonishing use of power wielded at precisely the moment he appeared weakest. Amid a day of turmoil and frenzied meetings at the White House and the Capitol, the legislation, called the American Health Care Act, was on the brink of collapse. Republicans were dozens of votes short, having timed the repeal for the seventh anniversary of the day the Affordable Care Act became law. House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin had postponed the vote and called a recess, his GOP factions hopelessly divided over their fundamental approach to health care. Trump’s risky move sets up a dramatic showdown on the House floor Friday. (Lochhead, 3/23)

Reuters: Trump Demands Support In Do-Or-Die Friday Vote On Healthcare Plan
However, the vote has been seen by financial markets as a crucial test of Trump's ability to work with Congress to deliver on his other priorities, such as tax cuts and infrastructure spending. Even if their replacement plan does eventually get approval from the House, the legislation faces a potentially tough fight in the Republican-controlled Senate. The House and Senate had hoped to deliver a new healthcare bill to Trump by April 8, when Congress is scheduled to begin a two-week spring break. (Cornwell and Becker, 3/24)

5. GOP House Leaders Are On Edge With Health Vote Gamble

The vote -- which was scheduled in response to demands by President Donald Trump -- is dicey for the majority and highlights the continuing factions within the Republican caucus as well as their hesitancy to negotiate and compromise.

The Associated Press: House Sets Risky Health Care Vote After Trump Demands It
In a gamble with monumental political stakes, Republicans set course for a climactic House vote on their health care overhaul after President Donald Trump claimed he was finished negotiating with GOP holdouts and determined to pursue the rest of his agenda, win or lose. House Speaker Paul Ryan set the showdown for Friday, following a nighttime Capitol meeting at which top White House officials told GOP lawmakers that Trump had decided the time for talk was over. (Fram and Alonso-Zaldivar, 3/24)

USA Today: Damn The Torpedoes: GOP Sets Friday Vote On Health Care Despite Opposition
Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., told reporters at the Capitol that Mulvaney’s message was: “The president needs this, the president has said he wants a vote tomorrow. If for any reason (it fails) we’re just going to move forward with additional parts of his agenda. This is our moment in time but the president is insisting on a vote one way or the other.” Collins said the message from the administration — Stephen Bannon, Reince Priebus and Kellyanne Conway also attended the meeting — was that negotiations were over and it was time to act. (Kelly, Collins and Shesgreen, 3/23)

Roll Call: House GOP Heads Into Health Care Vote ‘Between A Rock And A Hard Place’
The outcome of Friday’s House vote to partially repeal and replace the 2010 health care law is not certain, but one thing is: All parties to the Republican negotiations will walk away with some losses. ... the chips in this case are a group of conservative hardliners and moderate majority-makers (members leadership typically relies on to help pass bills) that have stood in opposition to bill before the latest round of changes. While at least a dozen of those Republicans have said since the final plan was announced Thursday evening that they remain “no” votes, several others appear to be wavering. (McPherson, 3/24)

News outlets note the difficulties GOP leaders have confronted in this week's negotiations are similar to the ones that dogged them during the Obama administration -

The Wall Street Journal: In Health-Law Fight, GOP Leaders Struggle To Reconcile Factions’ Needs
After years of making the repeal of the Affordable Care Act a signature issue, Republicans are struggling to deliver on the promise, floundering amid warring factions that neither President Donald Trump nor House Speaker Paul Ryan have been able to whip into line. ... They are confronting a thorny challenge that required two things in short supply among today’s Republican rank and file: a willingness to compromise or to defer to leadership. (Hook and Epstein, 3/23)

The Associated Press: New Congress, All-GOP, Same Political Divisions
With control of the White House and Senate and a commanding majority in the House, Republicans were supposed to brush off any challenge from the hardline Freedom Caucus and work their will with impunity. But something happened on the way to governing. Now, House Republican leaders are struggling with the same divisions that plagued them under President Barack Obama. (Ohlemacher, 3/24)