In This Edition:

From Kaiser Health News:

Kaiser Health News Original Stories

2. Tracking Air Quality Block By Block

An environmental advocacy group plans to install 100 pollution sensors at homes, schools and businesses in the congested area near the Port of Oakland to capture variations in the level of diesel contaminants. (Ngoc Nguyen, 4/11)

3. Political Cartoon: 'That's A Reach?'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'That's A Reach?'" by Joel Pett, Lexington Herald-Leader.

Here's today's health policy haiku:


Alert! Your brain is
Connected to your diet.
Remember – eat right!

If you have a health policy haiku to share, please Contact Us and let us know if you want us to include your name. Keep in mind that we give extra points if you link back to a KHN original story.

Summaries Of The News:

Health Law

4. Following 'Replace' Debacle, Vulnerable GOP Lawmakers Dodge Town Halls

USA Today looks at which members are facing their constituents during recess -- and there are only a few swing-district Republicans who supported the health bill doing so. Meanwhile, ads are being launched from both sides of the aisle over lawmakers' health care stances.

USA Today: Republicans Avoid Town Halls After Health Care Votes
Reps. Leonard Lance of New Jersey and Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania appear to be the only swing-district Republicans who voted for their party’s bill to replace Obamacare who will directly face constituents over the April recess, according to a USA TODAY analysis of scheduled town halls compiled by Fourteen Republicans from competitive congressional districts sit on the three congressional committees that voted last month for their party’s controversial health care plan before GOP leaders pulled the bill from the House floor because it lacked support to pass. (Przybyla, 4/10)

The Associated Press: Conservative Group's Health Care Ads Target GOP Moderates
The conservative Club for Growth is launching TV spots pressuring moderate Republican lawmakers to support the party's languishing health care overhaul drive, officials of the group said Monday in the latest salvo in the GOP civil war that derailed the House measure. The ads press moderates to back a revised version of the measure that the Trump administration offered last week in talks with conservative legislators. (Fram, 4/10)

The Hill: House GOP Targets Dems Over ObamaCare During Recess
The House GOP's campaign arm is targeting five vulnerable Democrats over ObamaCare while they're in their home districts for the two-week spring recess. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is launching a series of digital billboards, which were first shown to The Hill, highlighting each Democrats' support for ObamaCare and urging constituents to contact their representatives. (Hagen, 4/10)

And in other news —

Kaiser Health News: GOP Bills To Replace Obamacare Do Not Tinker With Lawmakers’ Coverage
Under the Affordable Care Act, members of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate and their office staffs who want employer coverage generally have to buy it on the health insurance exchange. Before the law passed in 2010, they were eligible to be covered under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, or FEHB. (People working for congressional committees who are not on a member’s office staff may still be covered under FEHB.) (Andrews, 4/11)

5. Uncertainty Over Health Law Could Be Its Downfall In Industry That Lives And Dies On Predictability

At the same time insurers are having to make a decision to stay in the Affordable Care Act 2018 marketplaces, the future is unclear for the subsidies the industry sees as crucial to survival.

The Washington Post: This Is How Obamacare Might Actually Explode
Even if Republicans can't find a way to repeal Obamacare, they may still have a way to deliver on President Trump's promise that the law will “explode” — all via the power of uncertainty. The administration and Congress could keep insurers guessing over whether it will continue federal payments that lower deductibles and copays for millions of Americans next year. Without that certainty, insurers facing deadlines may decide not to sell plans on the marketplaces set up by the Affordable Care Act — or be forced to raise their premiums significantly. (Johnson, 4/11)

The New York Times: Trump Administration To Pay Health Law Subsidies Disputed By House
The Trump administration says it is willing to continue paying subsidies to health insurance companies under the Affordable Care Act even though House Republicans say the payments are illegal because Congress never authorized them. The statement sends a small but potentially significant signal to insurers, encouraging them to stay in the market. (Pear, 4/10)

Meanwhile, a new study looks at the law's impact on low-income, childless adults —

Stateline: Uninsured Rate For Poor, Childless Adults Declines
As the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress explore ways of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, a new study shows how beneficial the law has been to poor adults who don’t have children. The study by the Urban Institute found that between 2013 and 2015, the rate of poor, childless adults without health insurance fell by 47.1 percent. (Ollove, 4/10)

Administration News

6. Movement To Provide Low-Income Housing For Patients Faces Threat In Form Of Trump Cuts

Many say that being able to provide housing to patients who need it is crucial to solving the country's health care woes. But cuts President Donald Trump has proposed to housing programs and possible changes to the tax code could undermine their efforts.

The New York Times: Patients Prescribed Shelter And Medication Are Wary Of Trump Cuts
For eight months, Jamal Brown’s body shook, so violently that he lost consciousness and ended up in the hospital more than 30 times. Though only in his 30s, his face drooped, his arms and legs often felt numb, and he was overcome with the anxiety of being a homeless drug addict trying to get clean in Camden, N.J. Then, last July, as he lay in a hospital bed after his third stroke, a representative of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers came to his bedside and suggested a different kind of treatment for his illnesses: a federal housing voucher. (Alcindor, 4/10)

Capitol Hill Watch

7. Lawmakers Call For Dedicated $300M Fund To Fight Epidemics

“We cannot afford to be caught flat-footed or constrained in our ability to respond and provide aid in a timely and comprehensive manner when the next public health crisis emerges,” the lawmakers' letter states.

Morning Consult: Lawmakers Propose Emergency Response Fund For Pandemics
Citing warnings from senior Obama administration officials, lawmakers from both parties are calling on Congress to establish a dedicated funding source to combat infectious disease outbreaks, according to a letter released Monday. The fund, which 21 lawmakers requested in a letter to senior House appropriators, would appropriate $300 million to help the Trump administration “contain and eradicate future infectious disease epidemics.” (Reid, 4/10)

In other news from Capitol Hill —

Boston Globe: Bipartisan Bill Would Make Hearing Aids Cheaper And More Accessible, But Some Doctors Object 
Now new technology and a rare bipartisan push from lawmakers who are trying to reduce regulations for the sale of hearing aids are raising hopes that more people with mild to moderate hearing loss will be able to buy hearing devices a lot more cheaply and without seeing a doctor. It’s a modest-sounding goal, but supporters believe the measure on Capitol Hill could lower prices, spur innovation, and ultimately get hearing aids into the ears of far more people. (McGrane, 4/11)

The Associated Press: Bill To Look At Health Effects Of Contaminants In Water
New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is planning to introduce a bill to improve efforts to identify the public health effects of emerging contaminants found in drinking water. Shaheen, a Democrat, is working on the bill with Republican Sen. Rob Portman, of Ohio. They note the potentially harmful and unregulated materials such as PFCs and cyanotoxins are being detected in their states and elsewhere. (4/10)


8. Something's Gotta Give: Astronomical Health Costs May Be Driving Industry To Breaking Point

Modern Healthcare looks at how the sky-high cost of medical care is putting an escalating pressure on providers to offer better quality treatment for less.

Modern Healthcare: The Transformation Imperative
One year of healthcare spending can buy 15 iPhones. Or, it can buy over 3,000 gallons of milk. Or, if you want to look at it in relative terms, U.S. healthcare spending, which in 2015 hit nearly $10,

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