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Kaiser Health News Original Stories

4. Political Cartoon: 'Hold The Door?'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Hold The Door?'" by Signe Wilkinson .

Here's today's health policy haiku:

PANEL QUESTIONS EFFECTIVENESS OF ARTHROSCOPIC KNEE SURGERY

Oh my aching knees!
There was an easy answer.
But now … maybe not.

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:

Health Law

5. Alliances Cropping Up In Senate, Where Almost Every Vote Holds The Power To Destroy A Deal

Leadership can only lose two Republican votes to pass a health care plan through the upper chamber, giving each senator a great deal of bargaining power.

Politico: 52 Ways To Repeal Obamacare
Senate Republicans want to do their own Obamacare repeal plan — but nearly all 52 Republicans have their own ideas about how it should look. With his razor-thin majority, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can afford to lose only two GOP votes. That turns each senator into a de facto powerbroker with the ability to shape — or kill — legislation simply by aligning with two other members. (Haberkorn, 5/11)

The Hill: GOP On Tightrope With Planned Parenthood 
Senate Republicans are treading a narrow path as they seek to defund Planned Parenthood through passage of a healthcare bill. Cutting off federal funds because of the abortion services provided by the organization is a goal of most congressional Republicans and the Trump administration. And with majorities in the House and Senate and control of the White House, the goal seems within reach after years of the party being thwarted by Senate Democrats and former President Barack Obama. (Carney, 5/10)

The Hill: Senate GOP Defends Writing Its Healthcare Bill In Private 
Senate Republicans are defending their decision to write their own ObamaCare replacement bill behind closed doors, bypassing the usual committee process. They say it is unlikely that the bill will go through hearings and markups in committee, though they stress that a working group of lawmakers, as well as the entire Republican caucus, will have heavy input on the bill. (Sullivan, 5/11)

Nashville Tennessean: Sen. Lamar Alexander: Women Will Have Important Role In Crafting Obamacare Replacement Bill
Sen. Lamar Alexander insisted Wednesday that women will have a seat at the table as Senate Republicans work to craft a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act...A 13-member working group appointed by GOP leaders to piece together a health care bill has sparked fire even from within Republican ranks because none of the senators selected for the panel are women. (Collins, 5/10)

In other news —

6. CBO Assessment Of Republicans' Health Plan Expected Week Of May 22

The Congressional Budget Office score is needed for the Senate to truly move forward on its own version because of the method it's using to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

The Washington Post: CBO To Issue Cost Estimate Of House Health-Care Bill Within Two Weeks
The Congressional Budget Office is planning to release the week of May 22 an assessment of how the health-care legislation that the House just passed will impact federal spending. In a blog post on Wednesday, the CBO said that its staff and Congress’s nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation expect to issue the cost estimates early that week. The notice did not say whether the analysis of the Republicans’ Affordable Health Care Act will include a forecast of how the bill would affect the number of Americans with health insurance, and a spokeswoman for the office said she did not have that information. (Goldstein, 5/10)

Politico: CBO Score Of Obamacare Repeal Bill Expected Week Of May 22
The Senate parliamentarian can't review the legislation and the GOP cannot really start writing its bill in the upper chamber until the CBO scoring is complete. That’s because the Senate version has to save at least as much money as the House bill — otherwise the measure would violate the budget resolution and the GOP repeal effort would come to a swift end. (Haberkorn, 5/10)

CQ Roll Call: CBO Score For Health Bill Will Take Another Two Weeks
Senate Republicans, including Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, said this week they won't decide how they will change the House bill's cuts to the projected spending growth of the Medicaid program or its tax credits until they see the CBO's analysis of the House-passed bill. "We're going to have to have scores, that's for sure," Hatch said Tuesday. (Mershon, 5/10)

7. Brutal Town Hall For Moderate Who Helped Resuscitate GOP Plan Captures Snapshot Of Voters' Wrath

Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) worked with conservatives to revive the stalled health care negotiations, and helped get the legislation through the House. But his voters, and others turning up at Republican town halls across the country, are not necessarily cheering the efforts.

The New York Times: In New Jersey, Democrats Hope No Good Health Care Compromise Goes Unpunished
It took a moderate Republican from New Jersey to wrestle a compromise out of his party’s hard-right naysayers and resuscitate the House health care plan. And for that, he may pay dearly. Less than a week after Representative Tom MacArthur helped legislation that would repeal the Affordable Care Act clear a gridlocked House, he faced hundreds of outraged constituents and protesters on Wednesday in his district’s Democratic stronghold. He has to defend the measure bearing his name that would undermine protections for patients with pre-existing conditions. (Huetteman, 5/10)

The Washington Post: ‘I Didn’t Come Here To Defend The President Tonight.’ Republican Who Rescued Health-Care Bill Faces Voters.
The mood was toxic from the start. Protesters lined up outside the town’s Kennedy Center event hall for hours before the 6:30 p.m. start time: an assemblage of local activist groups, including chapters of Indivisible, New Jersey Citizen Action and Our Revolution. Tax March, a group that grew out of protests demanding the president’s tax returns, inflated a balloon that approximated a chicken with golden, Trump-like hair; nearby, dozens of protesters lied down in a “die-in,” as a man wearing a Trump puppet head pretended to tee off on them. In the sky, a plane flew by, trailing letters that spelled out “MacArthur Tax Cut for 1% No Care.” MacArthur’s town hall was designed to weed out interlopers. District residents stood in line — at start time, it stretched as long as a football field — for one of the scarce seats inside. MacArthur entered the room through a curtain, with a sound system playing Coldplay’s anthem “A Sky Full of Stars.” Despite some of the trappings of a rally, there was little applause. (Weigel, 5/10)