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KHN First Edition: May 5, 2017


First Edition

Friday, May 05, 2017
Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

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

Kaiser Health News: Political Theater: How A Bill That Nearly All Opposed Managed To Pass The House
Phil Galewitz reports: "The AARP called the health bill that House Republicans narrowly approved Thursday “deeply flawed” because it would weaken Medicare and lead to higher insurance premiums for older Americans. The American Medical Association said it would undo health insurance coverage gains and hurt public health efforts to fight disease. The American Hospital Association said the bill would destroy Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program for the poor that expanded mightily under the Affordable Care Act and buoyed hospitals’ bottom lines. Normally, that would spell failure." (Galewitz, 5/5)

Kaiser Health News: A Squeaker In The House Becomes Headache For The Senate: 5 Things To Watch
Julie Rovner reports: "After weeks of will-they-or-won’t-they tensions, the House managed to pass its GOP replacement for the Affordable Care Act on Thursday by a razor-thin margin. The vote was 217-213.Democrats who lost the battle are still convinced they may win the political war. As the Republicans reached a majority for the bill, Democrats on the House floor began chanting, “Na, na, na, na … Hey, hey, hey … Goodbye.” (Rovner, 5/4)

Kaiser Health News: Sounds Like A Good Idea? High-Risk Pools
High-risk pools are a key concept that helped House Republicans pass their replacement for the Affordable Care Act. That bill, the American Health Care Act, which still must pass the Senate to become law, allows states to opt out of the requirement for insurers to cover people with preexisting conditions and set up high-risk pools for these people instead. (Rovner and Ying, 5/4)

California Healthline: Should Health Care Trainees Be Treated As Paid Employees?
Anna Gorman reports: "Narciso Lara, 36, was trying to support his family in Salinas as a forklift driver but didn’t see any opportunity for advancement. So last year, he enrolled in a community college program to become a radiologic technologist. Now, Lara takes classes at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, Calif., and gets hands-on training at a health clinic nearby. By the end of the 22-month program, he will have completed 1,850 clinical hours — all unpaid." (Gorman, 5/5)

Politico: Obamacare Repeal Bill Squeaks By In House
The plan, the American Health Care Act, was approved mostly along partisan lines, 217-213, with just one vote to spare. No Democrats backed the bill, and a slew of Republicans opposed it as well. (Cheney, Bresnahan and Bade, 5/4)

The Wall Street Journal: GOP Approves Bill To Replace Most Of Affordable Care Act
The 217-213 House vote came more than a month after Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) was forced to withdraw the bill to avoid its collapse on the House floor. Late lobbying and amendments in the past week allowed House Republicans to finally clear the measure to roll back and replace much of the Affordable Care Act. (son, Bender and Armour, 5/5)

Los Angeles Times: With A Push From Trump, House Republicans Pass Obamacare Overhaul
After House GOP leaders had shelved previous attempts to advance the bill because of a lack of support from their own party, Thursday’s vote provided a major legislative victory to Trump, which may give momentum to his other priorities and bolster his efforts to be seen as a leader who can govern with the Republican majority in Congress. (Mascaro and Levey, 5/4)

Politico: Republicans Don’t Really Like The Health Care Bill They Just Passed
Republicans have been saying this particular bill was set to pass because it’s a now-or-never situation — especially after the embarrassing collapse of the first effort in March — and they’re been finding solace in the idea that the legislation won't be the final product anyway. Rep. Luke Messer, an Indiana Republican, called it a "green flag" and a "start." (Dawsey, 5/4)

The Associated Press: GOP Revs Up To 'Eye Of The Tiger' For Vote, Dems Sing Bye
Like boxers before a big fight, Republicans pumped themselves up with the pounding music of Survivor's 1980s anthem "Eye of the Tiger" and Bachman-Turner Overdrive's "Takin' Care of Business" before passing a bill to dismantle Democrat Barack Obama's health care law. Hours later, when lawmakers filled the House chamber Thursday afternoon to cast the final vote, Democrats answered with another song. (5/5)

The New York Times: Democrats Taunt Republicans With ‘Hey, Hey, Hey, Goodbye’ During Health Vote
When it became clear on Thursday that Democrats in the United States House of Representatives could not defeat a bill to repeal and replace major parts of the Affordable Care Act, they turned to a time-honored American tradition: taunting the other side. “Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye,” dozens of Democrats sang in unison as the health care bill crossed the 216 votes needed to pass. (Haag, 5/4)

The New York Times: Is G.O.P. ‘Staring Death In The Face’ After Repeal? Democrats Hope So
“I think they are staring death in the face,” Representative Gerald E. Connolly, Democrat of Virginia, said about the political prospects of dozens of House Republicans who were persuaded to back the bill by Republican leaders anxious to deliver a legislative win. “They asked their vulnerable members to take an enormous gamble and risk on an act of faith that I guarantee will not pay off.” (Hulse, 5/5)

Politico: The House Republicans Who Could Lose Their Jobs Over Obamacare Repeal
Strategists in both parties already believed the House could be up for grabs in 2018, as it often is two years into a new presidency. But the Obamacare repeal vote was as emotionally charged as they come on Capitol Hill, and a handful of Republicans in districts won by Hillary Clinton may have very well written their political obituary by voting yes. (Robillard, 5/4)

USA Today: Health Care Vote Makes Dozens Of Republicans More Vulnerable, Analysts Say.
Days after President Trump’s inauguration, Rep. Mimi Walters of California vowed to protect patients with pre-existing conditions in any plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. On Wednesday she cast a vote for a plan allows insurance companies in some cases to charge higher premiums to people with cancer, diabetes and other common preexisting conditions — even pregnancy. (Przybyla, 5/4)

Los Angeles Times: California's Republicans All Voted Yes On The Healthcare Bill. Now Democrats Have A Campaign Issue
All 14 Republicans in California’s congressional delegation voted Thursday to dismantle Obamacare, a move that could have ripple effects for the midterm elections 18 months from now as Democrats sense an opportunity to win back House control. Half of the 14 represent districts that backed Hillary Clinton for president last fall, and Democrats already are plotting to oust vulnerable Republicans on the same topic that swept them out of the majority following the 2010 Affordable Care Act vote. (Wire, 5/4)

Politico: Red-State Dems Pounce On Obamacare Repeal Bill
Red-state Democratic senators who once hoped for a bipartisan fix to Obamacare now have nothing to work with but the House GOP’s repeal plan. So they’re lining up to trash it. All 10 Senate Democrats up for reelection next year in states won by President Donald Trump joined their leaders in vilifying the Obamacare repeal passed by the House passed Thursday. (Schor, 5/4)

The Washington Post: How The House Got A Health-Care Bill After Trump And Ryan Stepped Back
The rescue effort that pulled the Republicans back from the brink of failure on health care began quietly, with two House members who are not exactly household names trying to find common ground on a little-noticed issue. They were Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.), a leader of the moderate House Republican bloc that calls itself the Tuesday Group, and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the conservative and hard-line House Freedom Caucus. The question at hand was giving states more flexibility by allowing them to come up with their own ways of achieving cost savings and providing coverage. (Tumulty and Costa, 5/4)

The Washington Post: Republicans Are Following The Playbook They Attacked In Obamacare Debate
As they raced toward Thursday’s vote on the American Health Care Act, House Republicans found themselves fending off ghosts. Seven years of attacks on the Affordable Care Act, seven years of insisting that the law had been jammed through without scrutiny, kept coming back to haunt them. First, they struggled to answer questions about the need to vote before the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) had estimated the costs of an amended AHCA. (Weigel, 5/4)

Politico: 5 Instances Of GOP Hypocrisy On Obamacare Repeal
For seven years, Republicans campaigned on a single message: Obamacare was rammed through Congress by power-hungry Democrats who rushed a hastily written bill riddled with backroom kickbacks. But now, after vowing for years that the repeal process would be different, with regular order and plenty of public scrutiny, Republicans are doing the exact same thing — or worse — that they blasted Democrats for repeatedly. Here’s how. (Caygle, 5/4)

The Washington Post: What Is In The Republican Health-Care Bill? Questions And Answers On Preexisting Conditions, Medicaid And More.
In broad strokes, the legislation has a lot of financial aspects. For instance, it would substantially reduce the funding for subsidies that the ACA provides to most people seeking health coverage through insurance marketplaces the law created. It also would make other changes to those subsidies in ways that, overall, would help younger adults and increase premiums for older people. The bill also would eliminate several taxes the ACA created to help pay for its provisions, including on health insurers and affluent Americans. (Eilperin and Goldstein, 5/4)

Politico: What's Actually In The GOP Health Care Bill
The legislation expunges Obamacare’s unpopular individual mandate requiring most Americans to have health insurance. But in its place, the bill allows insurers to charge people who have been uninsured for about two months a 30 percent surcharge on their premiums, an incentive designed to encourage people to maintain insurance coverage. (Ehley, 5/4)

NPR: Here's What's In The House Republican's Health Care Bill
The House Republican plan would eliminate the income-based tax credits and subsidies available under the Affordable Care Act, replacing them with age-based tax credits ranging from $2,000 a year for people in their 20s to $4,000 a year for those older than 60. (Kodjak, 5/4)

The Washington Post: Kevin McCarthy’s Claim That ‘Nobody On Medicaid Is Going To Be Taken Away’
Before the House narrowly approved the Republican bill to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, McCarthy defended it in an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash after she noted that Democrats paid a price at the polls for passing Obamacare. She wondered whether Republicans are “going to face that very same buzz saw for taking a benefit away.” McCarthy responded, “We’re not taking a benefit away. Nobody on Medicaid is going to be taken away.” Considering that the American Health Care Act would reduce anticipated Medicaid outlays by $880 billion, or 25 percent, over the next 10 years, what is he talking about? (Kessler, 5/5)

The New York Times: Fact Check: Is Congress Exempt From The G.O.P. Health Bill?
Accusations of hypocrisy greeted the House passage of the amended American Health Care Act on Thursday, as people were outraged — erroneously — by claims that the bill does not apply to Congress. It is true that an early version of the bill exempted lawmakers from its provisions. But a subsequent piece of legislation, which the House approved, eliminated the exemption, effectively nullifying that claim. (Qiu, 5/4)

The Associated Press: GOP Health Care Bill Would Allow Employers To Cap Benefits
The Republican health care plan that passed the House on Thursday targeted a key protection for Americans who get their health insurance through work. It would allow health insurance companies to impose lifetime and annual caps on benefits for those who get coverage through a large-employer plan. Former President Barack Obama's health care overhaul banned insurers from imposing such caps, and public opinion surveys have shown that prohibition was popular. (5/4)

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