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Kaiser Health News Original Stories

6. Political Cartoon: 'Throw Your Voice?'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Throw Your Voice?'" by Rina Piccolo.

Here's today's health policy haiku:


What was the motive
For this spending spree? Do you
Really need to ask?

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:

Capitol Hill Watch

7. Ryan Downplays Expectations For Health Care Vote As Lawmakers Come Back From Recess

Both the spending battle and the health care fight await lawmakers returning to Capitol Hill this week.

Politico: House GOP Leaders Won’t Rush Health Care Vote
House GOP leaders during a members-only conference call Saturday vowed to avoid a government shutdown and said they're closer to a deal to repeal and replace Obamacare, according to members who participated on the call. But Speaker Paul Ryan also downplayed the possibility of a vote next week, the same sources said. The Wisconsin Republican said the chamber will vote on a conference-wide deal when GOP whips are confident they have the votes for passage — but not until then. (Bade and Haberkorn, 4/22)

Bloomberg: White House Still Pressing To Hold Obamacare Vote This Week
Donald Trump’s administration continues to push for a vote this week in the House to replace Obamacare, which the president said on Sunday is “in serious trouble.” Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said on “Fox News Sunday” that the Senate Budget Committee sent language on the health bill to the House on Saturday night, as negotiations between Congress and the White House continue. (House and Edney, 4/22)

The New York Times: Uphill Battle Looms As Trump Seeks Revamped Healthcare Plan
President Donald Trump, striving to make good on a top campaign promise, is pushing his fellow Republicans who control Congress to pass revamped healthcare legislation but the same intraparty squabbling that torpedoed it last month could do it again. Trump is looking for his first major legislative victory since taking office in January. House of Representatives Republicans are exploring compromises aimed at satisfying the party's most conservative members without antagonizing its moderates, but it remained unclear on Friday whether a viable bill would emerge. (Cornwell, 4/21)

The Wall Street Journal: Trump Issues New Warnings On Demise Of Affordable Care Act
In a series of Sunday morning Twitter messages, President Donald Trump warned the Affordable Care Act would falter without new funding, and pressured Democrats to support spending for his proposed border wall between the U.S. and Mexico to keep the health program going. Democrats are pushing to include funding for a set of Affordable Care Act subsidies in a must-pass spending bill that will need Democratic support to clear the Senate and likely the House. Mr. Trump’s administration has signaled an openness to including the funding, known as cost-sharing payments—in exchange for funding to build a border wall. (Hackman, 4/23)

The Hill: ObamaCare Repeal: Where The GOP-Trump Plan Stands Right Now 
A White House effort to win House approval next week for an ObamaCare repeal bill is running head-on into a divided GOP conference struggling to reconcile its differences.While centrist Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) and conservative Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) say they are close to a deal, other Republicans say they are not a part of the agreement and that MacArthur is not bringing other centrists along with him. (Sullivan and Hellmann, 4/21)

The Washington Post Fact Checker: How Is Medicare Affected By The House GOP Health Plan?
Medicare, the old-age health program, emerged largely unscathed from the proposed legislation — even the $700 billion in Medicare “cuts” that Republicans used to highlight in attack ads. Those spending reductions have been retained, for now.But there are two provisions in the bill affecting the financing of Medicare that have received relatively little attention. (Kessler, 4/21)

The New York Times: Will The Government Be Open In A Week? Here Are The Dividing Lines
Congressional leaders and White House officials have steered the nation to the brink of a government shutdown that virtually all parties agree would be a terrible idea. ... Here are the dynamics at play as members return from a two-week recess. ... Seeking to squeeze Democrats, Mr. Mulvaney has offered a trade of sorts: $1 of subsidy payments under the Affordable Care Act — paid to insurers to lower deductibles and other costs for low-income consumers who buy plans through the law’s marketplaces — in exchange for every $1 to pay for the border wall that the president wants to build. (Flegenheimer and Kaplan, 4/24)

CQ Roll Call: Trumpcare Holdouts Fared Better In Elections Than Trump
Amid the collapse of the Republican plan to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, President Donald Trump threatened the members of the House Freedom Caucus, the ultra-conservative faction that played a leading role in sinking the legislation championed by Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Trump. Trump pledged in a tweet to “fight them” in 2018, implying that he would back primary challengers. But there’s a problem: Of 21 caucus members who said they planned to vote no on the GOP bill, only one had anything like a close race last November. (Zeller, 4/24)

Health Law

8. Concerned Over Federal Uncertainty, States Move To Bolster Own Marketplaces

Idaho, Oklahoma and Minnesota have passed measures to relieve some of the burden of covering individuals under the Affordable Care Act from their insurers. Meanwhile, Access Health's CEO says he's worried more companies will leave the marketplaces, and consumers in Arizona struggle with skyrocketing rates.

The Wall Street Journal: States Seek To Shore Up Health Insurance Markets
Amid uncertainty in Washington about the future of the Affordable Care Act, states are moving to bolster their own insurance markets, hoping to fend off big rate increases and pullbacks by insurers. Idaho, Oklahoma and Minnesota have passed bills that aim to blunt insurers’ costs for covering people who buy individual insurance and have health conditions that require expensive treatments. The measures would allow insurers to unload at least some of the expense of these enrollees’ claims onto state programs, typically using a version of reinsurance. (Wilde Mathews and Hackman, 4/23)