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4. Political Cartoon: 'Needless To Say'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Needless To Say'" by Bill Schorr, Cagle Cartoons.

Here's today's health policy haiku:


It is elusive …
Health plan consensus. This week’s
Effort falls short too.

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Summaries Of The News:

Health Law

5. House To Make Last-Minute Tweaks To Health Plan As White House Pushes For Progress

Language to create a risk-sharing fund will be added to the Republicans' health bill at a Rules Committee on Thursday, news outlets report. However, the non-controversial measure is unlikely to move any lawmakers' stances on the issue.

The Washington Post: At Trump’s Request, House May Tweak Health-Care Bill Before Recess
House Republican leaders are making last-minute plans to modify their stalled health-care bill Thursday in response to pressure from the Trump administration to show progress toward passing the bill before lawmakers leave for a two-week recess. Four people familiar with the plans, including a House member who has been involved in the health-care discussions, said an amendment providing for “high-risk pools” — a mechanism to subsidize insurance coverage for the seriously ill — will be added to the health-care bill at a Rules Committee meeting Thursday. (By Winfield Cunningham, Eilperin and DeBonis, 4/6)

The Hill: House GOP Moves To Add Change To Health Bill Before Recess
House Republicans will move Thursday to add an amendment to their ObamaCare replacement bill as a way to show progress before recess, despite the lack of a major breakthrough. The House Rules Committee will meet Thursday to add language creating a “risk-sharing fund” to subsidize care for people with high medical costs, a senior House GOP aide said. The idea functions like a high-risk pool that Republicans have long supported. (Sullivan, 4/6)

Bloomberg: Trump Pushing House To Aid Gravely Ill In Health-Care Bill, Sources Say
The White House prodded House Republican leaders to make last-minute tweaks to their Obamacare replacement bill Thursday to protect “high-risk” patients before lawmakers leave Washington for their two-week spring break, according to an administration official and a House leadership aide. The House Rules Committee is making last-minute plans to hold a meeting Thursday to consider an amendment to create a new risk-sharing fund for the seriously ill. The move doesn’t indicate the overall bill will go to the floor immediately, but committee action on the amendment is intended to show momentum toward a deal on a bill is building, said the aide. (Jacobs and House, 4/6)

The Hill: Meadows: Freedom Caucus Would Back Bill That Got Rid Of 3 ObamaCare Regs
The majority of the House Freedom Caucus would vote for a healthcare bill that gets rid of three of ObamaCare's insurer regulations, the group’s chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said Thursday. The caucus has withheld its support from the GOP's ObamaCare repeal bill last month, saying it does nothing to drive down insurance premiums. But in an effort to sway the caucus, Vice President Pence offered this week to get rid of three regulations: essential health benefits, which mandate what services insurers must cover; community rating, which says insurers can't charge sick people more for insurance; and guaranteed issue, which says insurers must cover people with pre-existing conditions. (Hellmann, 4/6)

6. Intraparty Blame Game Heats Up As 'Zombie Trumpcare' Falters Again Right Before Recess

Though talks continue, lawmakers are likely headed back to their districts for a two-week recess after failing to revive a health care plan.

The New York Times: As Latest Health Plan Dies, Republicans Can’t Agree On A Culprit
The new bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act is dead, killed off by House Republicans who never actually read the legislation — because in fact, it never actually existed. Conservative groups moved quickly on Wednesday to shift the blame for the failure of a seven-year promise to repeal the law onto some not-as-conservative Republicans, after a small but powerful group of hard-line House conservatives failed again to come to a meeting of the minds with the Trump administration over how best to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s signature achievement. (Steinhauer and Pear, 4/5)

The Wall Street Journal: GOP Talks To Relaunch Health Law Sputter
President Donald Trump has said on Twitter he still wants to pursue passage of the GOP health-care bill, but lawmakers are unlikely to reach an agreement before they leave Washington Thursday for a two-week recess. “I think it’s difficult to finish one by the end of the week,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) (son and Andrews, 4/5)

Bloomberg: GOP Points Fingers At Each Other As Health Deal Prospects Fade 
Let the blame game begin -- again -- with House Republicans saying Wednesday they still can’t reach a deal on reviving their health-care bill, likely delaying any chance of action until at least May...The White House made another run at delivering on GOP promises to repeal and replace Obamacare, with Vice President Mike Pence spending Monday and Tuesday nights meeting with House lawmakers. But Republicans concede they still aren’t ready to vote, meaning that action is very unlikely this month. (House, Edgerton and John, 5/5)

The Associated Press: GOP Health Deal Elusive As House To Take Easter Break
"There's no suggestion we should be changing our flights," moderate Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., said Wednesday afternoon, a day before lawmakers were slated to leave Washington for their two-week recess. "We're going home ... without a deal. "From the party's right flank, Freedom Caucus member Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina said: "I've heard nothing of substance at this point that would break the logjam." (Alonso-Zaldivar and Fram, 4/6)

USA Today/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Speaker Paul Ryan Says Republicans' Obamacare Repeal May Take Months
A new push to pass a GOP health care bill will take weeks, not days, House Speaker Paul Ryan indicated Wednesday, as the latest talks among Republicans produced no apparent breakthrough. “We’ve got a couple months at least,” Ryan said in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Wednesday. “We’ve gotten pretty far in coming together,” he said, “but I also think we’re not there yet — because the stakes are so high, and people are just having to get used to” being the governing party. (Gilbert, 4/5)

CQ Roll Call: Republicans Ramp Up Blame Game As Hopes For Health Deal Fade
[T]he factions in the party now are blaming each other for what they see as negotiating in bad faith or "moving the goalposts," after a late Tuesday meeting failed to produce a deal. A subsequent meeting between the key lawmakers, planned for Wednesday, had not been scheduled by mid-afternoon. Moderates were vehement that the House Freedom Caucus had again suggested they could support a deal, only to later demand more conservative changes. Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., a member of the Tuesday Group, said the changes the White House was discussing would "not be helpful" to earn moderate support. The 36 or so members of the Freedom Caucus were the obstacle, he said. "Their definition of perfect is standing in the way of compromise, and that's why I'm not optimistic right now." (Mershon, 4/5)

The Hill: Ryan Takes Backseat To Pence In Latest ObamaCare Effort 
Two weeks ago, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) left it all on the field in trying to pass his ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill. He talked up the legislation during dozens of TV interviews. The former Ways and Means Committee chairman treated reporters to a half-hour presentation detailing why the current health insurance law was failing. And Ryan hosted countless meetings in his ornate office in the Capitol in a bid to flip members from no to yes.    Now, Ryan’s taking a more hands-off approach. (Wong and Sullivan, 4/5)