In This Edition:
From Kaiser Health News:
Democrats want the bill to continue funding the health law’s cost-sharing reductions for low-income marketplace customers but President Trump says he will support that only if he gets other funding he wants. (Julie Rovner, 4/26)
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, sparked discord at his meeting with his district's voters Monday when he suggested churches, schools and families are best able to handle the opioid epidemic rather than the federal government. (Rachel Bluth, 4/25)
Before the federal health law guarantee that consumers cannot be turned down because of their medical history, it was difficult to balance insurers’ needs to make a profit and individuals’ needs for coverage. (Elana Gordon, WHYY, 4/26)
A critical shortage of home health care workers across the U.S. is denying care for senior citizens and people with disabilities. (Judith Graham, 4/26)
Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Fall Out Of Bed?'" by Jeff Danziger.
Here's today's health policy haiku:
FEAR, LOATHING AND APPLAUSE IN OHIO … REP. JOHN JORDAN’S TOWN HALL
Some voters seem angry. Why?
It’s about health care.
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:
Conservatives seem to be coalescing behind a health plan that includes waivers allowing states to opt out of major regulations related to essential health benefits and insurance companies to charge higher premiums for patients with preexisting conditions.
The Washington Post: House Freedom Caucus Leaders Back New Health-Care Plan
White House officials and several Republican lawmakers claimed Tuesday they were nearing a deal on health-care legislation with the House Freedom Caucus, with at least three leading figures in the hard-line group ready to support an overhaul after the dramatic collapse of talks last month. Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and Raúl R. Labrador (R-Idaho) — all leaders of the Freedom Caucus and central figures in the latest discussions — signaled Tuesday they are ready to support a new plan, according to two White House officials who were not authorized to speak publicly. A lawmaker close to the Freedom Caucus later confirmed that those members were close to or ready to support the tweaked bill. (Costa and Winfield Cunningham, 4/25)
Politico: Republicans Finalize New Obamacare Repeal Proposal
[It] is far from clear that the fragile agreement will provide Speaker Paul Ryan the 216 votes needed for the House to pass the stalled legislation. Optimism is growing among Republican officials on the Hill and in the White House. Leadership will likely need at least 15 to 20 new House Freedom Caucus votes to have any shot at passing the bill. (Bade, Haberkorn and Dawsey, 4/25)
Bloomberg: Stalled Health Bill Wins New Support From Conservative Holdouts
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 renewed pressure from the White House as President Donald Trump approaches his 100th day in office on Saturday. The new enthusiasm stems from an amendment that would give states the authority to apply for waivers from some of Obamacare’s requirements under certain conditions. (House, Denis, Kapur, 4/25)
The Hill: House GOP Circulates New Changes To Health Bill
According to legislative text of the amendment obtained by The Hill, the measure would allow states to apply for waivers to repeal one of ObamaCare’s core protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Conservatives argue the provision drives up premiums for healthy people, but Democrats -- and many more moderate Republicans -- warn it would spark a return to the days when insurance companies could charge sick people exorbitantly high premiums. (Sullivan, 4/25)
The Hill: Changes To GOP ObamaCare Repeal Flips Some Conservatives
Rep. David Brat (R-Va.), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, told reporters Tuesday evening that he would likely support the American Health Care Act (AHCA) as long as discussions on what would be in the amendment appear in the legislative text. "If it shows up in the language the way we discussed it, then yes," Brat said. (Hellman, 4/25)
Meanwhile, a look at the history of covering people with preexisting conditions —
Kaiser Health News: Pre-Obamacare, Preexisting Conditions Long Vexed States And Insurers
For most of his life, Carl Goulden had near-perfect health. He and his wife, Wanda, say that changed 10 years ago. Carl remembered feeling “a lot of pain in the back, tired, fatigue, yellow eyes — a lot of jaundice.” “Gray-like skin,” Wanda added. His liver wasn’t working, she explained. “It wasn’t filtering.” Carl was diagnosed with hepatitis B. He is now 65 and on Medicare, but back then he had a flower shop in Littlestown, Pa., so he had been buying health insurance for his family on the market for small businesses and the self-employed. (Gordon, 4/26)
Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) has been working with members of the Freedom Caucus to salvage the Republican health care plan, but his fellow moderate lawmakers say he's doing it without their backing.
Politico: Moderates Chafe At Republican Health Care Compromise
Rep. Tom MacArthur has singlehandedly kept the embers of the failed repeal-and-replace effort burning, huddling with the hard-line conservative Freedom Caucus to try to forge a deal. The negotiations have allowed the White House and GOP congressional leaders to insist that despite their embarrassing failure to pass health care legislation last month, they're still making progress. But the MacArthur-as-Republican health care savior narrative has bothered some GOP moderates, who say the New Jersey lawmaker is flying solo in negotiations with the Freedom Caucus. (Cheney, Bade and Jennings, 4/26)
The Associated Press: Leading GOP Moderate Opposes Plan To Move House Health Bill
Leading House conservatives are saying good things about a plan to revive the GOP health care bill. But an influential GOP House moderate is opposing the proposal, leaving party leaders to assess whether the idea could help one of President Donald Trump’s premier but most problematic priorities spring back to life. Republican lawmakers were meeting Wednesday to consider how to rescue the GOP drive to repeal much of President Barack Obama’s health care law. (Fram and Taylor, 4/26)
Those with information on the spending negotiations say Democrats are eyeing military spending as a potential compromise to get money for the "insurer bailouts" that Republicans have been targeting for years. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times and KHN offer looks at just what exactly those subsidies are.
The Hill: Dems Want ObamaCare Subsidies Funded In Exchange For $15B To Military
An emerging government funding deal would see Democrats agreeing to $15 billion in additional military funding in exchange for the GOP agreeing to fund healthcare subsidies, according to two congressional officials briefed on the talks. (Bolton and Wong, 4/25)
Morning Consult: Fate Of ACA Payments Unclear In Government Spending Bill
Extending the border wall with Mexico may not force the government to shut down at midnight on Friday, but one more contentious issue still could: What to do about payments to insurance companies. The White House has wobbled on its demands to include funding for the border wall in a must-pass spending bill this week, but lawmakers still disagree about whether funding for cost-sharing reduction payments to insurance companies should be included. (McIntire and Yokley, 4/25)
Roll Call: With Trump’s Wall Off The Table, Obamacare Takes Center Stage In Shutdown Showdown
Talks about averting a government shutdown progressed Tuesday after funding for building the wall between the U.S. and Mexico fell off the negotiating table, but lawmakers still had to work through a thicket of issues — including health care funding and family planning. They have until midnight Friday to reach a deal before government funding runs out. ... Republicans and Democrats were still debating how to address the need for cost-sharing subsidy payments to insurance companies to help lower-income individuals pay for the health care under the 2010 health care overhaul. The House GOP still has a lawsuit over the legality of the payments, which goes back to the administration of President Barack Obama, but some Senate Republicans were reluctant to turn off the spigot. (Lesniewski, 4/26)
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