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KHN First Edition: September 26, 2017


First Edition

Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

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

Kaiser Health News: Sen. Collins Announces Opposition To GOP Bill To Replace Obamacare
Even a partial report from the Congressional Budget Office was enough to apparently tip the scales against the latest Republican effort to overhaul the Affordable Care Act and prompted a crucial senator to announce she cannot support the bill, seemingly sinking its chances. The CBO said Monday that the bill offered by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) would meet the requirements for fast-track consideration in the Senate, but that “millions of additional people would be uninsured,” if the bill became law. (Rovner, 9/25)

Kaiser Health News: Postcard From Capitol Hill: Health Care Hearing’s Action Was In Hallway
“Kill the bill, don’t kill us,” one woman screamed, inches from a U.S. Capitol Police officer’s face Monday afternoon in a marbled hallway of U.S. Capitol at the start of the one and only public hearing on the GOP’s last-ditch effort to replace the Affordable Care Act. The protesters had begun lining up at 5:30 a.m. — some paid others to hold their places — and by 2 p.m., hundreds of people were waiting for a coveted seat for the Senate Finance Committee’s hearing in Room 215 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Around lunchtime, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) strolled through, passing out slices of pizza to some in line. (Bluth, 9/25)

Kaiser Health News: Nowhere To Go: Young People With Severe Autism Languish In Hospitals
Teenagers and young adults with severe autism are spending weeks or even months in emergency rooms and acute-care hospitals, sometimes sedated, restrained or confined to mesh-tented beds, a Kaiser Health News investigation shows. These young people — who may shout for hours, bang their heads on walls or lash out violently at home — are taken to the hospital after community social services and programs fall short and families call 911 for help, according to more than two dozen interviews with parents, advocates and physicians in states from Maine to California. (Jewett, 9/26)

The New York Times: Health Bill Appears Dead As Pivotal G.O.P. Senator Declares Opposition
A last-ditch attempt by President Trump and Senate Republicans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act appeared to collapse on Monday as a pivotal senator announced her firm opposition to the latest repeal plan, virtually ensuring that Republicans would not have the votes they need for passage. The announcement by the senator, Susan Collins of Maine, effectively dooms what had been a long-shot effort by Republicans in the Senate to make one more attempt at repealing the health law after failing in dramatic fashion in July. (Kaplan and Pear, 9/25)

The Washington Post: Senate GOP Effort To Unwind The ACA Collapses Monday
While one top Republican senator held out the possibility that the Senate might still vote on the bill, others accepted the reality that the push had sputtered out after Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) joined two of her colleagues in formal opposition. “Everybody knows that’s going to fail,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), who led a raucous, five-hour hearing on the bill Monday afternoon. “You don’t have one Democrat vote for it. So it’s going to fail.” Monday’s developments amounted to a massive setback for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and President Trump, who spent the past week trying to rally support for a last-ditch attempt to fulfill a seven-year Republican promise. (Sullivan, Eilperin and Snell, 9/25)

Los Angeles Times: Latest GOP Obamacare Repeal Effort On Verge Of Collapse As Third Republican Comes Out Against Bill
Monday afternoon, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) said GOP leaders would probably not be able to hold a vote this week as planned. Even before Collins’ announcement Monday, President Trump sounded increasingly downbeat about the bill’s chances. “We’re going to lose two or three votes, and that’s the end of that,” Trump said Monday on Alabama radio’s “Rick and Bubba Show,” criticizing Republican senators for withholding their support after years of promising to repeal and replace the law. “They pander and they grandstand.” (Mascaro and Levey, 9/25)

The Wall Street Journal: Collins Becomes Third Republican To Oppose Graham-Cassidy Bill
The Republicans’ latest proposal would take much of the 2010 law’s funding and transform it into block grants, which states could use to shape their own health-care systems. Ms. Collins said the earlier and newer versions of the bill both “open the door for states to weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma, cancer, heart disease, arthritis and diabetes. ”Ms. Collins said in a statement she was concerned by the rushed process used to consider the bill co-sponsored by her Republican colleagues, Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana. (Armour and son, 9/25)

The Associated Press: Paul Still Opposes GOP Health Care Bill, Despite Changes
Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul says he will not vote for the latest Republican health care bill, calling last-minute changes that would send more money to his state and those of other undecided senators as "suspicious." Republican leaders over the weekend tweaked the bill to give more money to states including Alaska, Arizona, Maine and Kentucky. Those are all states where senators are either undecided or have indicated their opposition to the bill that would repeal and replace most of former President Barack Obama's health care law. (9/25)

The Hill: Cruz Still A No On ObamaCare Repeal Bill 
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is still opposed to the latest ObamaCare repeal legislation despite the changes that have been made to the bill, according to a Cruz aide. Cruz's position further endangers the Republican ObamaCare repeal effort, which appears to be on the brink of failure. (Weixel, 9/25)

The New York Times: The Republican Senators Who Have Opposed The Many Bills To Repeal Obamacare 
Three Republican senators firmly opposed the latest plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, leaving Senate leaders short of the votes needed for passage. Thirteen Republican senators from 12 states have rejected at least one of the Senate’s five major repeal efforts in recent months. Opposition has come from the party’s moderates and hard-liners, but for different reasons. (Andrews, Park and Parlapiano, 9/25)

Politico: Collins’ Opposition Dooms Latest Obamacare Repeal Effort
Senate Republicans are set to meet Tuesday on whether to try to open debate on health care again on the floor to show the GOP’s base that they are still trying to repeal Obamacare. The caucus is internally debating whether to hold a vote certain to fail later this week. “We’re going to need to have a meeting of our conference tomorrow at noon to see where we can see where everybody is,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas). (Everett, Haberkorn and Dawsey, 9/25)

Politico: Cassidy Rules Out Revisions Even As He Pushes Obamacare Repeal Bill
Sen. Bill Cassidy on Monday pledged not to give up on his Obamacare repeal plan despite lacking GOP support to win its passage by a Saturday deadline. The Louisiana Republican told reporters he’ll “keep plugging away” to find the 50 votes needed to pass the bill using a budgetary procedure requiring only majority support. But he added that he’s done making tweaks aimed at winning over holdout senators. (Cancryn, 9/25)

The Hill: Protests Erupt At GOP ObamaCare Repeal Hearing 
Protests erupted at a Republican-led hearing on their ObamaCare repeal bill, leading Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to briefly recess the hearing, after police dragged several protesters out. "No cuts to Medicaid, save our liberty," attendees chanted.  Police surrounded the protesters and escorted them out of the room. Well over 100 people were arrested at the hearing and on Capitol grounds, police said later. (Roubein, 9/25)

The Washington Post: Protests Fill Senate Hallways As Cassidy-Graham Gets Its Hearing
In July, 56-year-old Joe Smith trekked 22 hours from his Harrison, Ark., home to protest the Senate Republicans’ attempt to repeal part of the Affordable Care Act. Thinking the fight was over, Smith went home. On Monday morning — after another 22-hour car and bus ride — Smith was back at the Senate, joining hundreds of protesters lined up outside the Senate Finance Committee’s hearing on Cassidy-Graham. “We can’t afford to lose our health care,” said Smith, who suffers from cerebral palsy, gets disability benefits and has insurance through Aetna. “Every time we go up here, I think it makes a difference. I personally think they shouldn’t do away with Obamacare, and I think they should fix it, so I’m here.” (Weigel, 9/25)

The Washington Post: Trump Pins Blame On McCain As Latest GOP Health-Care Bill Sinks
With the latest Republican plan to overhaul the Affordable Care Act collapsing, President Trump focused his ire Monday night on Sen. John McCain, distributing a video that showed the Arizona Republican on board with the mission in the past.“ A few of the many clips of John McCain talking about Repealing & Replacing O’Care,” Trump said in a tweet that accompanied the video. “My oh my has he changed-complete turn from years of talk!” (Wagner, 9/25)

Reuters: Health Plan Would Cut U.S. Deficit, But Leave Millions Without Insurance: CBO
An earlier version of a healthcare bill Republican leaders are trying to push through the U.S. Senate would save at least $133 billion over 10 years, Congress' nonpartisan budget agency said on Monday, suggesting it meets requirements to clear the chamber on a simple majority vote. But the U.S. Congressional Budget Office did not assess the most recent version of the Graham-Cassidy bill, leaving it unclear whether it also complies with Senate rules expiring on Sept. 30 that permit approval by a simple majority. (Beech, 9/25)

The Washington Post: CBO Predicts ‘Millions’ Would Lose Coverage Under The Revised Senate Health Bill
The latest Senate Republican plan to tilt federal health-care law in a conservative direction would cause “millions” of Americans to lose insurance by 2026, while lessening the federal deficit by at least $133 billion, according to much-anticipated estimates by Congress’s nonpartisan budget scorekeepers. The partial analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, issued late Monday afternoon, said that the precise increase in people without health coverage “could vary widely,” because the Cassidy-Graham legislation would give each state great latitude to design its own health-care policies. (Goldstein, 9/25)

Politico: Graham-Cassidy Repeal Plan Would Leave 'Millions More' Uninsured
The nonpartisan scorekeeping agency said the legislation's effect on the uninsured rate could vary widely, depending on how states run their health care systems under the plan, which shifts federal Obamacare payments to a system of block grants to states. The plan would hit savings targets required under the expedited rules GOP leaders are using to try to pass repeal with a simple majority. (Bettelheim, 9/25)

The New York Times: Read The C.B.O. Report On The Graham-Cassidy Health Care Bill
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on Monday released its findings on the latest Republican health care bill. (9/25)

Los Angeles Times: 7.5 Million Californians Could Lose Coverage Under Latest Obamacare Repeal Effort, State Health Insurance Exchange Says 
Californians who get their health coverage on the individual market could face dire consequences under the current Republican effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, warned a new analysis released Monday by Covered California, the state's health insurance exchange. (Mason, 9/25)

The Hill: S&P: Graham-Cassidy Bill Would Cost 580K Jobs 
The latest ObamaCare repeal bill would hurt the economy and reduce coverage levels, according to a new report released Monday. The S&P Global Ratings report found that the bill, sponsored by GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (La.), would reduce coverage levels among those making between 133 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty line, or between $16,040 and $48,240 for an individual. (Hellmann, 9/25)

Politico: States Warn Latest Obamacare Repeal Plan ‘Impossible’ To Set Up
State officials are warning they face a daunting, near-impossible task of rebuilding their health care systems from the ground up in just two years under the GOP’s latest Obamacare repeal plan. It’s a recipe for chaos, say those officials, who fear the unforgiving timeline and minimal federal assistance could result in insurance market collapses that force millions of residents to lose coverage. (Cancryn and Rayasam, 9/25)

The Associated Press: As Health Bill Teeters, Medicaid Recipients Watch Nervously
With the latest Republican health care overhaul teetering near collapse, one group in particular is watching with heightened anxiety. The debate in Congress is personal for many of those who gained coverage through Medicaid in the 31 states that expanded the program under former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. (9/26)

The Hill: Critics Say Pre-Existing Conditions Protections Weakened In Updated GOP Bill
Critics of the updated ObamaCare repeal measure from Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) say it goes further than their earlier bill in gutting protections for people with pre-existing conditions. The two lawmakers say they changed their legislation in a bid to win over holdout senators by giving the states more money and more freedom. (Weixel, 9/25)

The Washington Post Fact Checker: Meet The Man Flagged By Cassidy As Paying $40,000 In Health-Care Premiums
In selling his plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, co-sponsored with Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), Sen. Bill Cassidy repeatedly has mentioned the case of a Louisiana resident who faces $40,000 in insurance premiums. There are actually two such cases, one of which Cassidy touted on Facebook in 2016, though the details are a bit fuzzy. He displayed an insurance sheet that shows a couple being quoted $3,300 a month in premiums for a plan with a $6,200 deductible and $13,000 cap on total expenses. Cassidy has not identified this person. (Kessler, 9/26)

The Washington Post: With Lower Stakes, Sanders And Klobuchar Debate GOP Repeal Bill’s Sponsors On CNN
Halfway through CNN’s prime-time debate on the Affordable Care Act, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) went in for the kill. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) had taken his umpteenth swing at “bureaucrats,” telling viewers that “Bernie’s solution is more government, not less,” warning that the Vermont senator would pour millions of people into Medicare when the system could not handle them.“It is easy to beat up on big, bad federal government,” said Sanders. “Guys, do you know what the most popular health insurance program in America is? It’s not the private insurance industry. It is…” Graham decided not to dodge. “Medicare,” he said. “Medicare, yeah!” said Sanders. “Which is falling apart,” said Graham. (Weigel, 9/26)

The Hill: Sanders: America Must Guarantee Healthcare 'As A Right For All People' 
In his opening remarks during tonight's CNN healthcare debate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) blasted Senate Republicans' latest attempt to repeal and replace ObamaCare by highlighting major opposition to the bill. "Every major health association in this country, whether it is the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, the American Cancer Society, the Alzheimer's Society, every single major medical organization in this county think this proposal is a disaster," Sanders said. (9/25)

Politico: Graham And Cassidy Vow In Debate To Continue Obamacare Repeal Effort
With their Obamacare repeal bill on the brink of failure, Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy squared off with Sens. Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar in a nationally televised debate Monday night and vowed to keep up their effort. “We’re going to press on,” Graham said of his and Cassidy’s repeal bill, which appears all but dead amid firm opposition from three Republican senators. “It’s OK to vote. It’s OK to fall short.” (Schor, 9/25)

The New York Times: G.O.P. Points To Welfare Overhaul As A Model For Health Care. The Comparison Has Limits.
As they propose to give each state a wad of federal cash to replace the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance, Senate Republicans have a ready comparison to press their case: the overhaul of welfare adopted two decades ago. But the authors of the Senate’s latest bill to repeal President Barack Obama’s health law face one glaring flaw with the analogy: Few people would applaud a dramatic plunge in health insurance coverage the way they cheered the steep declines of the welfare rolls after the 1996 welfare law went into force. (Pear, 9/25)

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