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4. Political Cartoon: 'High Blood Pressure'

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

Here's today's health policy haiku:


Less coverage or
More consumer choice? The rules
Are starting to change.

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Summaries Of The News:

Health Law

5. White House Floats Plan With Waivers For Pre-Existing Condition Rules To Woo Freedom Caucus

Freedom Caucus members said they wanted to see the Trump administration's offer in writing — which is expected Tuesday — before deciding whether to accept it.

The Associated Press: White House Officials Offer Change To Health Care Bill
White House officials made a new offer to conservative House Republicans late Monday on the GOP's failed health care bill, hoping to resuscitate a measure that crashed spectacularly less than two weeks ago. ... Under the White House offer, states would be allowed to apply for waivers from several coverage requirements that President Barack Obama's 2010 health care law imposed on insurers. These include an Affordable Care Act provision prohibiting insurance companies from declining to write policies for people with serious diseases. Conservatives have argued that such requirements have the effect of inflating insurance costs. (4/4)

Reuters: Trump Aides, Lawmakers Hold Talks To Revive Healthcare Bill 
Top White House officials met moderate and conservative Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday in an effort to revive a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. Key members of the administration, including Vice President Mike Pence, invited a group of moderate Republicans known as the "Tuesday Group" to the White House. Pence then went to Capitol Hill to meet the Freedom Caucus, a group of House conservatives who last month derailed a healthcare bill backed by President Donald Trump. (Morgan, 4/3)

The Washington Post: With Help From Pence, House Republicans Suddenly Rekindle Health-Care Talks
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the chairman of the Freedom Caucus, told reporters Monday night that the administration officials offered a “solid idea” that could form the basis of an intraparty compromise. That idea, he said, would allow states to apply for federal waivers exempting them from some health insurance mandates established under the Affordable Care Act — including “essential health benefits” requiring coverage of mental-health care, substance abuse treatment, maternity care, prescription drugs and more, as well as a provision that bars insurers from charging the sick more than the healthy. (DeBonis and Wagner, 4/3)

Politico: White House, Conservatives Mull Deal To Revive Obamacare Repeal
The developments could mean that Speaker Paul Ryan’s bill might not be dead after all — or at least indicate that continued discussions are going on behind the scenes. Sources stressed that the details are still being finalized, and it's far from certain that such a change would act as a silver bullet to salvage the much-maligned bill, and whether it would win over enough conservatives while also keeping centrist Republicans on board. (Bade, Haberkorn and Dawsey, 4/3)

Bloomberg: Trump White House Pushes New Health-Care Deal, Lawmakers Say 
House GOP leaders said earlier that no health-care vote is planned, but several lawmakers, including a close ally of Trump’s, said they think a vote could still occur this week. “The administration would like that to happen,” Republican Representative Chris Collins, of New York, told reporters. “There’s more discussions to be had, but this was certainly a green light to continue these discussions with other members.” Collins and several Republican moderates went to the White House earlier in the day to discuss the plan. (Edgerton and John, 4/3)

Roll Call: Amash, Freedom Caucus Say Health Care ‘Deal’ Reports Are False
Rep. Justin Amash and the House Freedom Caucus say talks of a deal with the White House on tweaks to legislation that would repeal the 2010 health care law are premature. Several HFC members suggested after a Monday meeting with Trump administration officials, including Vice President Mike Pence and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, that they would see a legislative outline of some of the administration’s proposed changes to their health care package on Tuesday. (Garcia, 4/4)

The Hill: Paul: New ObamaCare Repeal Talk 'Helpful,' But Needs More Time
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Monday that talk of a compromise to win over conservatives to the ObamaCare replacement bill is "helpful" but needs more time.  Multiple reports surfaced Monday that the White House and conservatives are discussing a compromise to grant Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price more authority to allow states to waive certain ObamaCare regulations that conservatives want repealed.  (Sullivan, 4/3)

Roll Call: Rand Paul Proffers Kinda, Sorta Obamacare Repeal, Replace
Before huddling with members of the House Freedom Caucus Monday, Sen. Rand Paul said he was pushing President Donald Trump on a new construct for the repeal and replacement of the 2010 health care law. Paul, a Kentucky Republican, suggested a possibility of keeping some subsidies in the 2010 law in place rather than replacing them with a new bundle of tax credits, a move that could keep conservatives from basically voting for new entitlements. (Lesniewski, 4/3)

6. Democrats Mobilize To Defend Health Law, Ask Trump To 'Do No Further Harm'

Even though the Republican repeal plan failed in Congress, that doesn't mean the administration can't make changes to the health law. Media outlets offer a look at what those modifications may be.

The Associated Press: Repeal In Doubt, What Trump Alone Can Do On 'Obamacare'
With prospects in doubt for repealing "Obamacare," some Republicans say the Trump administration can rewrite regulations and take other actions to undo much of the health care law on its own. Some of those moves could disrupt life for millions of people, many in states that the new president carried. And then there's the risk of court challenges. Remember the White House travel ban? (Alonso-Zaldivar, 4/3)

Kaiser Health News: Trump’s Effort To Lure Consumers To Exchanges Could Bring Skimpier Plans
Will opening the door to cheaper, skimpier marketplace plans with higher deductibles and copays attract consumers and insurers to the exchanges next year? That’s what the Trump administration is betting on. In February, the administration proposed a rule that would take a bit of the shine off of bronze, silver, gold and platinum exchange plans by allowing them to provide less generous coverage while keeping the same metal-level designation. (Andrews, 4/4)

Meanwhile —