In This Edition:
From Kaiser Health News:
Doctors and drug developers have a stake in making cancer treatments seem better than they really are. (Liz Szabo, 4/27)
A California lawmaker wants to strengthen collaboration among public agencies to bring down costs to taxpayers. (Pauline Bartolone, 4/27)
A program designed to address the shortage of doctors in rural and poor urban areas could be in peril unless Congress acts. (Michael Ollove, Stateline, 4/27)
Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Spare No Expense?'" by Rex May.
Here's today's health policy haiku:
PROMISES OF A MIRACULOUS CANCER CURE CAN TURN HOPE TO POISON
Believing the hype can be
Deadly for patients.
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:
It's unclear whether the compromises made to woo the Freedom Caucus cost them moderate votes, but some lawmakers say they're hopeful it will pass. The vote could come possibly as early as Friday, although some members suggest it will take longer for lawmakers to make their decisions.
The New York Times: Hard-Line Republican Caucus Backs Revised Bill To Repeal Obamacare
The House Freedom Caucus, a group of hard-line conservatives who were instrumental in blocking President Trump’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act last month, gave its approval Wednesday to a new, more conservative version, breathing new life into Republican efforts to replace President Barack Obama’s health law. (Steinhauer and Pear, 4/26)
The Associated Press: Conservatives Back Revised Health Bill, GOP Moderates Balk
The changes would let states escape a requirement under President Barack Obama's health care law that insurers charge healthy and seriously ill customers the same rates. They could also be exempted from Obama's mandate that insurers cover a list of services like maternity care, and from its bar against charging older customers more than triple their rates for younger ones. (Fram, 4/26)
McClatchy: House Republicans Weigh New Trump-Backed Health Care Proposal
Under MacArthur’s proposal, waivers could be granted only to states that participate in a proposed $115 billion risk-sharing pool to help pay medical costs for people with costly pre-existing conditions. (Pugh and Clark, 4/26)
The Hill: Freedom Caucus Endorses Revised ObamaCare Bill
"While the revised version still does not fully repeal Obamacare, we are prepared to support it to keep our promise to the American people to lower healthcare costs," the Freedom Caucus said in a statement. "We look forward to working with our Senate colleagues to improve the bill. Our work will continue until we fully repeal Obamacare." (Marcos, 4/26)
The Wall Street Journal: House GOP Health Insurance Plan Gains New Life
With Democrats firmly opposed to the legislation, pressure to support the bill is now on Republican centrists. Ensuring protections for people with pre-existing conditions remained a key concern for some. Rep. Mike Coffman (R., Colo.), who had previously backed the bill, said he was now undecided.“What I’ve got to do is to make sure people are protected in terms of pre-existing conditions and I’m not there yet,” he said. The bill retains deep cuts to Medicaid and other elements of the original proposal that concerned centrist GOP members who worried too many people would lose coverage. Many of the centrist Republicans who had been opposed to the bill last month said their position had not shifted, among them GOP Reps. Jeff Denham of California, Dan Donovan of New York and Leonard Lance of New Jersey. (Armour, son and Hackman, 4/27)
CQ Roll Call: Moderates Hedge On New Obamacare Repeal Amendment
Many moderates have expressed concerns in the past about changes that would eliminate the protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions that are at the center of the 2010 health care law (PL 111-148, PL 111-152). The MacArthur-Meadows amendment would let states apply for waivers from some of those protections, like the requirement that everyone be charged the same price. The amendment would keep a requirement that insurers offer coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, and consumers who maintained continuous coverage would also be protected. Dent said he feels the latest proposal "is simply a matter of blame shifting and face saving."(Mershon and McPherson, 4/26)
Politico: Freedom Caucus Endorses Obamacare Repeal Compromise
Senior House Republican sources said they still didn’t have the votes for passage Wednesday evening. But GOP leaders felt bullish enough about their progress that they began considering a vote as early as this week. Nothing is scheduled. However, Republicans on Wednesday — through an obscure House rule for another piece of legislation — gave themselves same-day authority to fast-track any bill at the last minute, through Saturday. (Cheney and Bade, 4/26)
Politico: MacArthur ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ About His Obamacare Replacement Amendment
Shortly after his amendment received an endorsement from the conservative House Freedom Caucus, U.S. Rep. Tom MacArthur said Wednesday he was “cautiously optimistic” the changes he’s negotiated to revive the House GOP Obamacare replacement plan could soon become a reality. “I don’t think the issue was ever needing to move moderates from no to yes,” MacArthur, who represents the 3rd Congressional District, told POLITICO New Jersey in a phone interview. “We gained some votes from the Freedom Caucus and that’s helpful, extremely helpful. I think we now need to make sure we hold the people that were yes before. And if we do, I’m cautiously optimistic we can get this done.” (Jennings, 4/26)
Bloomberg: GOP Leaders Weigh Saturday Health Bill Vote Amid New Support
House Republicans have been under intense pressure to deliver on years of promises to repeal Obamacare, but GOP leaders weren’t making predictions of an imminent vote despite the pressure from the White House. (Edgerton and House, 4/26)
Politico: GOP Senators Not So Keen On House's Obamacare Repeal
The House may finally be on its way to scrapping Obamacare, but don’t expect the Senate to go along: Any plan sent over will undergo major surgery — and survival is far from assured. The hurdles in the upper chamber were on vivid display Wednesday as House Republicans celebrated their breakthrough on the stalled repeal effort. The compromise cut with House Freedom Caucus members won over the right flank, but the changes will almost surely make it harder to pick up votes in the more moderate-minded Senate. (Kim and Everett, 4/27)
The Hill: The Hill's Whip List: Who To Watch On GOP's New ObamaCare Bill
House Republicans have an updated bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare, and The Hill has a new whip list. The updated bill includes an amendment that would allow states to opt out of key ObamaCare rules, including on minimum coverage requirements and allowing insurers to charge more based on individuals' health. (4/26)
The Hill: Club For Growth, FreedomWorks Throw Support Behind Latest GOP Health Plan
Two influential conservative groups that opposed the GOP's original ObamaCare repeal-and-replace plan will now support the latest version of it. Club for Growth and FreedomWorks on Wednesday announced their support for the American Health Care Act after seeing proposed text of an amendment that would make conservative changes to the bill. The amendment, drafted by Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) of the moderate Tuesday Group and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) of the conservative Freedom Caucus, would allow states to waiver out of some ObamaCare regulations. (Hellmann, 4/26)
The compromise that conservatives and moderate Republicans worked out this week as a replacement for the federal health law contained a provision that exempted members of Congress and their staffs from losing their guaranteed benefits. That brought jeers from Democrats, and party leaders crafted a bill to get rid of that exemption.
Politico: Ryan Moves To Ax Lawmaker Exemption In Obamacare Repeal Bill
House GOP leaders are moving quickly behind the scenes to iron out a wrinkle in their latest Obamacare repeal legislation: a controversial provision that preserves Obamacare coverage protections for members of Congress and their staffs while allowing states to opt out of them. Late Wednesday night, the House Rules Committee posted the text of a one-page bill that strikes the exemption for lawmakers that caused such a ruckus for Republicans on Wednesday morning. Discovery of the loophole, first reported by Vox, had triggered charges of hypocrisy from Democrats the entire day. (Bade and Bresnahan, 4/27)
The Hill: House GOP Health Bill Changes Exempt Members Of Congress
The new changes to the bill would allow states to apply for waivers for certain ObamaCare provisions, such as a ban on insurers charging premiums based on a customer's health and the requirement that insurers' basic health plans cover certain services, like prescription drugs and mental health. The GOP amendment exempts members of Congress and their staffs to ensure that they will still be protected by those ObamaCare provisions. ... Democrats quickly jumped on the development, arguing that Republicans are willing to take away protections for the general public, but not themselves. (Sullivan, 4/26)
The New York Times and The Associated Press offer a look at the compromises being proposed in Republicans' efforts to revive the stalled plan.