In This Edition:
From Kaiser Health News:
Rep. Brian Mast, a first-term Republican congressman, defends his party’s push to repeal Obamacare in a meeting with constituents but concedes its health care plan needs more work. (Phil Galewitz, 4/17)
The drugs, approved by the FDA for children earlier this month, can run $100,000 for a course of treatment. (Michelle Andrews, 4/18)
The chemical residue from cigarette smoke that can cling to walls, clothes and skin may present a danger to children. (Carmen Heredia Rodriguez, 4/18)
Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Child's Eyes?'" by Darrin Bell.
Here's today's health policy haiku:
HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED: TALKING TO CONSTITUENTS ABOUT THE ACA
This Rep. faced push back …
And no home-court advantage.
These town halls are tough.
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:
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has a 29 percent approval rating following the collapse of his health plan. Meanwhile, other lawmakers are still taking heat at home during their recess town halls.
The Wall Street Journal: Poll Suggests Health-Care Fiasco Hurt Paul Ryan’s Standing Among Voters
House Speaker Paul Ryan has a lower job approval rating than President Donald Trump in a new survey released Monday by the Pew Research Center. Less than a month since the collapse of the House GOP health-care bill, only 29% of those surveyed by Pew approved of Mr. Ryan’s job performance, compared to 39% for Mr. Trump — itself a historically low rating for a new president. (son and Ballhaus, 4/17)
Kaiser Health News: Florida Congressman Draws Jeers At Home For Backing Failed GOP Health Care Plan
A Republican congressman who in 2010 lost both legs after stepping on a roadside bomb in Afghanistan told an occasionally raucous town hall meeting here that he supports his party’s push to repeal the Affordable Care Act because Americans should be free to go without health care if they so choose. “There are positives and negatives” in the health law known as Obamacare, said Rep. Brian Mast, who noted he gets his health care from the Veterans Health Administration. “I’m not going to pretend this is the easiest thing to work through. (Galewitz, 4/17)
Politico Pro: Barton's District Confronts The Impact Of Repealing Obamacare
Rep. Joe Barton, a vocal Obamacare opponent, is trying to thread the needle. Now given the chance to blow up Obamacare, Barton is telling constituents back home about how he would like to fix problems with the health care law that — despite its unpopularity in deep red Texas — has quietly helped people in his district. (Rayasam, 4/17)
The Fiscal Times: Why Congress Goes For The "Gold" When They Sign Up For Obamacare
Irate voters, worried that the health care reform efforts of President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) would jeopardize their health care coverage, complained at town hall meetings during the current two-week recess that their representatives were leaving them in the lurch. Some resentful voters have also demanded to know who is paying for the health care insurance of members of Congress and their families and whether they stand to lose benefits if the current health insurance laws are dismantled by the GOP. (Pianin, 4/17)
The ads are running during the congressional recess in 12 House districts held by Republicans, some of whom supported the Obamacare repeal bill, others who opposed it and a few who didn't take a clear stance.
The Associated Press: Trump Group's Ads Bolstering GOP Obamacare Repeal Drive
A pro-Trump group is airing ads in a dozen Republican-held House districts aimed at drumming up support for the White House's wounded drive to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law. The $3 million campaign comes during a two-week congressional recess in which GOP lawmakers' town hall meetings have been rocked by liberal supporters of Obama's 2010 statute. Underscoring the challenges Republicans face, one poll showed Monday that the public trusts Democrats over the GOP on health care by their biggest margin in nearly a decade. (4/17)
Morning Consult: Ryan, Trump-Aligned Groups Change Focus In Health Care Ad Campaigns
Political groups aligned with President Donald Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan are doling out millions of dollars to defend House Republicans who are taking heat at home for supporting the GOP’s now-stalled plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. The moves show a shift in the groups’ focus, from targeting skeptics of the health care plan to focusing on its supporters, which have faced pressure from both the political right and left. (Reid, 4/17)
The deadline for filing proposed rates for 2018 is creeping ever closer, and insurers still don't know what's going to happen with the law.
The Wall Street Journal: Insurers Scramble To Price Plans On Health Exchanges As Policy Seesaws
Health insurers, facing fast-approaching deadlines to file plans for next year’s Affordable Care Act marketplaces amid uncertainty about the law’s fate, are putting off key business decisions as they scour for clues on social media and in the hallways of Washington. A group of insurers meets Tuesday with Trump administration officials, seeking reassurance and greater clarity about the future of the exchanges. Some companies have just weeks to file proposed 2018 rates with state regulators. (Wilde Mathews, 4/17)
Bloomberg: Obamacare's Insurers Struggle For Stability Amid Trump Threats
Obamacare is stuck in limbo, and insurers and state regulators are struggling to set their plans for what’s increasingly shaping up as a chaotic year for the health-care program. After the failure of Republicans’ first attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and President Donald Trump’s subsequent threats to let the program “explode,” more health insurers are threatening to pull out next year, while others may sharply raise the premiums they charge. They’ll start to declare in the next few weeks whether they’re in or out. (Tracer and Edney, 4/17)
The Hill: Survey: Insurers Have 'Cautious Commitment' To ObamaCare Market
A new survey finds that insurers have a “cautious commitment” to remaining in the ObamaCare marketplaces next year, despite uncertainty from the Trump administration. The survey from consulting firm Oliver Wyman finds that 96 percent of insurers surveyed said they plan to remain in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces next year. The research “reveals that the vast majority of health insurers remain committed to the ACA exchanges, but with some adjustments in strategy and continued watchfulness,” according to the report. Still, Republicans’ pending decision on ObamaCare payments known as cost-sharing reductions creates a major source of uncertainty for the market. (Sullivan, 4/17)
Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) says his vote on Title X funding was aimed to give states more flexibility in how to spend federal money.
The Hill: Vulnerable GOP Senator: 'No Problems' With Planned Parenthood Funding
Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) said Monday during a combative town hall that he supports federal funding for Planned Parenthood. "I have no problems with federal funding for Planned Parenthood," Heller said when asked about his support for the health organization. The GOP senator was booed when he initially appeared to hedge his answer on whether or not he supports federal funding for Planned Parenthood. (Carney, 4/17)
Politico Pro: Heller Voices Support For Planned Parenthood Funding
Heller is a key swing vote on Planned Parenthood funding because the Senate vote margin is razor thin on the issue. His comments suggest he may be open to keeping federal funding. “The question is whether federal funding should cover some of the activities that occur in Planned Parenthood,” Heller said to boos from the crowd. “I don’t know if we’re going to agree on everything here, but a lot of my constituents called my office and said they don’t want federal funding at Planned Parenthood to be used for…” he said, appearing to trail off. (Haberkorn, 4/17)
Meanwhile, in Ohio —
Cincinnati Enquirer: Planned Parenthood And Nazis: Lawmaker Makes The Comparison
State Rep. Candice Keller, R-Middletown, posted an image comparing the Planned Parenthood logo to a swastika on her public page. Keller, who serves as executive director of the Community Pregnancy Center in Middletown, is unabashedly anti-abortion and opposes Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions along with other health care services. (Balmert, 4/17)
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