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KHN First Edition: May 8, 2017


First Edition

Monday, May 08, 2017
Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

Today's early morning highlights from the major news organizations.

Kaiser Health News: Some GOP Congress Members Could Pay Politically For ACA Repeal Vote
Emily Bazar and Ana B. Ibarra report: "James McLelland was born with a rare form of dwarfism and spent his first nine months in the hospital connected to tubes, machines and monitors. About seven months before his birth in 2011, a provision of the Affordable Care Act kicked in, prohibiting insurers from imposing lifetime limits on health coverage. “If Obamacare hadn’t been in effect, he would have hit the lifetime limit of $1 million before he ever left the hospital,” said his mother, Jennifer McLelland, 35, of Clovis, Calif., using a common nickname for the ACA." (Bazar and Ibarra, 5/5)

The Washington Post: As Some Republicans Rush To Defend House Health Bill, Senate GOP Warily Pauses
Several Republican leaders have formed a political barricade around the health-care bill that narrowly passed the House last week, defending how the legislation would change insurance coverage for people with preexisting illness or injury. But while House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Trump administration officials on Sunday rallied around the House legislation after intense criticism from Democrats, who say the bill would strip protections, moderate Senate Republicans were outright dismissive. (Costa and Wagner, 5/7)

The Wall Street Journal: Senate Tackles Rewrite On GOP Health-Care Bill
Republican senators planned Friday to begin a formal full rewrite of the House GOP health-care bill, driven in part by a sense that the House version made insurance cheaper for young people but costlier for older Americans—an influential, mostly GOP voting bloc. Among the provisions senators are tackling is one that allows insurers to charge older Americans five times as much as younger people and lets states obtain waivers that could make that disparity even larger. (Armour and son, 5/5)

The Wall Street Journal: Republicans Press Case For Health Bill As Senators Weigh Changes
Republicans on Sunday pressed their case that a House-approved health-care bill would improve the nation’s health-insurance system and said that changes in the Senate wouldn’t likely throw the legislation off-track. White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said he had talked in the past day with six of the 12 or so Republican members of a working group drafting the Senate bill. Mr. Priebus said potential changes in the Senate wouldn’t likely undermine House support for the final legislation. “I think that everyone is committed to getting this thing done and getting it done as soon as possible,” Mr. Priebus said on Fox. (Zumbrun and Sonne, 5/7)

Politico: Collins: Senate Won't Be Tied Down By House Health Care Bill
Sen. Susan Collins said on Sunday the Senate will not be tied down by the Republican health care bill approved by the House. Asked on ABC's "This Week" whether she would vote yes on the House bill, the Maine Republican said she wouldn’t have to. "First of all, the House bill is not going to come before us," she said. "The Senate is starting from scratch. We're going to draft our own bill. And I'm convinced that we're going to take the time to do it right." (Gee, 5/7)

The Associated Press: A Look At The Senators Crucial To Action On Health Care
Senate Republicans get their shot at crafting a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The version that narrowly passed the House on Thursday didn't win over many in the Senate, where lawmakers insist they'll come up with their own version. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., spoke to President Donald Trump after the House vote and is now working with roughly a dozen other senators — all male — to write a new bill. (5/5)

Reuters: Democrats Criticize Senate's All-Male Healthcare Group
U.S. Democrats on Sunday criticized the lack of women on a working group in the Republican-led Senate that will craft a plan to pass legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare. As the Senate begins to wrestle with a Republican healthcare bill narrowly approved by the House of Representatives last week, senators questioned why the 13-member working group put together by Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell does not include any of the chamber's five Republican women. (5/7)

The New York Times: House Health Care Bill Is ‘Us Keeping Our Promises,’ Paul Ryan Says
Speaker Paul D. Ryan said on Sunday that criticism of the way the House passed its health care bill — no hearings were held on the final version, and it has yet to receive an evaluation from the Congressional Budget Office — was “kind of a bogus attack from the left.” “This is a rescue mission” as “Obamacare is collapsing,” Mr. Ryan said on ABC’s “This Week.” “This is a crisis. We are trying to prevent this crisis.” (Weiland, 5/7)

Politico: Ryan: GOP Health Care Bill Not Only Good Policy, But Good Politics
House Speaker Paul Ryan declared on Sunday the Republican House health care bill was not only good policy but also good politics, fulfilling the long-standing GOP campaign promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. "Health care is a complicated and very emotional personal issue. And we completely understand that," the Wisconsin Republican said on ABC's "This Week." "The system is failing. We're stepping in front of it and rescuing people from a collapsing system. And more importantly, we're keeping our word." (Gee, 5/7)

The Associated Press: White House: Republicans To Be Rewarded For Health Care Vote
The Republican Party will be rewarded for doing "what's right" by voting to overhaul a "failing and collapsing" health care system. That's according to White House chief of staff Reince Priebus. Priebus made that claim as Democrats and at least one outside group began planning to challenge the GOP for control of the House in the 2018 midterm election. (5/8)

USA Today: White House Defends Lack Of Women At Health Care Event
Trump administration officials defended Sunday the president’s victory lap over a health care bill far from completion, and the fact that the Rose Garden news conference featured mostly men. “The president achieved something that no one thought he would,” White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I think we were right to give the Congress an attaboy in the Rose Garden. But we also know that this is just the beginning, it’s the first step.” (Groppe, 5/7)

USA Today: White House Doubts States Will Choose To Charge Sicker People More
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said Sunday he doubts states will take the option of letting insurance companies charge sicker people more if the GOP health care bill the House narrowly passed Thursday becomes law. "It doesn’t affect anyone with continuous coverage, even if a governor — which I’m not sure that’s ever going to happen — takes the waiver option,” Priebus said on “Fox News Sunday.” (Groppe, 5/7)

The New York Times: Measure On Pre-Existing Conditions Energizes Opposition To Health Bill
From the moment the Republican-controlled House of Representatives approved a plan to overhaul the health care system, an onslaught of opposition to the bill has been focused on a single, compact term: pre-existing conditions. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee began running digital ads warning that the legislation would leave “no more protections” for people with a history of illness or injury. Pointing to the power that states could have to set the terms for insurers under the G.O.P. bill, Democratic leaders announced they would make pre-existing conditions an issue in every gubernatorial and state legislative race in the country. (Burns and Goodnough, 5/5)

The New York Times: ‘No District Is Off The Table’: Health Vote Could Put House In Play
In a suburban Chicago district, Kelly Mazeski, a breast cancer survivor, used the day of the vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act to announce her House candidacy, vowing to make Representative Roskam pay for his vote “to make Americans pay more and get less for their health care.” In western New York, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul has stirred talk of a congressional race with her slashing criticism of Representative Chris Collins, who rallied fellow Republicans to vote for the health measure, then conceded in a national television interview that he had not read the bill. (Martin and Burns, 5/6)

The Wall Street Journal: Political Ads Step Up Pressure In Health-Care Debate
Some 23 House Republicans represent districts that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton carried last November, suggesting that those seats could be in play next year. Fourteen of those lawmakers voted for the House bill, while nine voted against it. Several groups said they were starting ad buys in those districts. (Andrews, 5/8)

Politico: Left Launching Blitz Against Republicans Who Backed Obamacare Repeal
Save My Care, a coalition of pro-Obamacare advocacy groups, is launching a $500,000-plus TV ad campaign in five congressional districts held by Republicans who backed the GOP plan, the American Health Care Act. The ads target Reps. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine), Don Young (R-Alaska), Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) and Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.). (Cheney, 5/8)

The Washington Post: ‘Nobody Dies Because They Don’t Have Access To Health Care,’ GOP Lawmaker Says. He Got Booed.
A conservative Republican congressman from Idaho is drawing criticism for his response to a town-hall attendee’s concerns about how his party’s health-care bill would affect Medicaid recipients. “You are mandating people on Medicaid to accept dying,” the woman said. “That line is so indefensible,” said Rep. Raúl R. Labrador, a member of the influential House Freedom Caucus. “Nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care.” The boos instantly drowned him out. (Phillips, 5/7)

The Washington Post: Comstock’s Vote Against Health-Care Bill Seen As Pragmatic In Changing Va. District
During House Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s push this week to pass legislation that would overhaul the nation’s health-care system, Northern Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock stood alone as a “no” vote among her Republican Party colleagues in the Washington region. The reason Comstock gave is that the latest version of the American Health Care Act, which passed by a vote of 217 to 213, does not protect people with preexisting conditions and has too many other “uncertainties” in its aim to offer a better model than Obamacare. (Olivo, 5/5)

The Washington Post: ‘Does It Pass The Jimmy Kimmel Test?’ Asks GOP Senator Who Authored Proposal To Replace Obamacare
A Republican senator came up with a new phrase to promote a bill he has pitched to replace the Affordable Care Act. “Does it pass the Jimmy Kimmel test?” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who introduced legislation that would replace Obamacare while keeping some of its most popular features, said Friday in an interview with CNN. “Would a child born with congenital heart disease be able to get everything she or he would need in the first year of life? I want it to pass the Jimmy Kimmel test.” (Phillips, 5/6)

Politico: Kasich Blasts GOP Health Care Bill As Inadequate
Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Sunday knocked the Republican health care bill as inadequate, arguing the just-passed House measure would leave many Medicaid patients and those with pre-existing conditions wanting. "In the area of Medicaid, they are going to eliminate Medicaid expansion," Kasich said on CNN's “State of the Union." "And I cover in Ohio 700,000 people now, a third of whom have mental illness, drug addiction, and a quarter of whom have chronic disease." (Gee, 5/7)

The Washington Post: ‘Mail My Body To Paul Ryan’: An Extremely Morbid Way To Protest The GOP Health-Care Bill
Mailing human ash is not nearly as complicated as you might think. You basically just need some bubble wrap, a sturdy box and a special label, according the U.S. Postal Service’s handy guide. But why? ... Maybe you want a loved one’s ashes sealed inside blown glass. Or maybe (not in pamphlet) you want your own mortal remains shipped to one of the Republican House members who just passed a health-care bill widely expected to strip insurance from millions of people and hike medical costs — just in case that leads to your death. (Selk, 5/6)

The Associated Press Fact Check: Squishy Claims Follow Health Care Bill
They promised you a rose garden, from the Rose Garden. This past week, President Donald Trump and Republicans legislators celebrated passage of a House bill seeking to replace the Affordable Care Act. At a White House event, they heaped praise on their effort and brushed off worries that health coverage could be imperiled for many people if the Senate is persuaded to go along with the legislation. (5/6)

The Associated Press Fact Check: Are Pregnancy, Rape Pre-Existing Conditions?
Pregnancy, sexual assault and domestic violence could be considered "pre-existing conditions" that make it hard to keep insurance coverage under the Republican health care bill, according to a number of news articles and social media posts. The bill doesn't specifically refer to any of these things, and headlines suggesting that it does are misleading. (5/5)

The Washington Post: Despite Critics’ Claims, The GOP Health Bill Doesn’t Classify Rape Or Sexual Assault As A Preexisting Condition
Advocates and media reports highlighted individual stories of survivors of sexual assault or rape claiming they were denied coverage because of conditions relating to the abuse. One prominent example is Christina Turner, former insurance underwriter who was prescribed anti-AIDS medicine as a precaution after she was sexually assaulted. Turner, then 45 years old, was quoted in news reports in October 2009 saying she was unable to obtain insurance coverage because insurers told her that the HIV medication raised too many health concerns. Recent media coverage all linked back to one Huffington Post article, even though health coverage has changed since then. (Lee, 5/6)

The Associated Press: Obama Urges Congress To Show 'Courage' On Health Care
Former President Barack Obama, in his first public comments about the ongoing debate over his signature health care plan, implored members of Congress on Sunday to demonstrate political courage even if it goes against their party's positions. Obama briefly returned to the spotlight as he accepted the annual John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award at JFK's presidential library in Boston. (5/7)

USA Today: In Speech, Obama Takes Aim At Trump, Republicans
Recalling the early fights in Congress for ACA at the beginning of his presidency, Obama on Sunday also took a jab at President Trump’s comment to governors last February, when Trump told them, "Nobody knew health care could be so complicated." Obama got a laugh on Sunday, telling the crowd, “There was a reason why healthcare reform had not been accomplished before: it was hard.” (Toppo, 5/7)

Politico: Obama Urges 'Political Courage' To Save Affordable Care Act
Citing those who lost their seats after voting for the healthcare law in 2010, Obama described his “fervent hope” that current members “recognize it takes little courage to aid those who are already powerful, already comfortable, already influential — but it takes some courage to champion the vulnerable and the sick and the infirm, those who often have no access to the corridors of power.” (Dovere, 5/7)

The Wall Street Journal: Obama Calls For Defending The Affordable Care Act
After Mr. Obama signed the ACA in March 2010, the midterm elections that November wiped out Democrats at nearly all levels of government. In the House, 63 Democratic seats were won by Republicans, giving the GOP a majority it has held ever since. (Eps

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