In This Edition:
From Kaiser Health News:
Following a KHN investigation, the Food and Drug Administration has moved to speed up approvals of “orphan drugs” while closing a loophole that allowed drugmakers to skip pediatric testing. (Sarah Jane Tribble, 9/13)
In this episode of “What the Health?” Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Joanne Kenen of Politico, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times and Stephanie Armour of The Wall Street Journal discuss Democratic, Republican and bipartisan health proposals all being pursued in Congress, including the latest version of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) “Medicare-for-All” proposal. Plus, for “extra credit,” the panelists recommend their favorite health stories of the week. (9/13)
Not only are health prices hidden, industry players are contractually obligated to keep them secret. That’s why answering a simple question — how much does it cost to have a baby in Mountain View, Calif.? — became a journalistic quest. (Jenny Gold, 9/14)
Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Pain In The Rear?'" by Bob and Tom Thaves.
Here's today's health policy haiku:
SORRY - THAT'S NOT COVERED THIS WEEK
Health plan coverage
Is complicated enough
Without change midstream.
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:
As the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee races to find bipartisan fixes to stabilize the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, two groups of senators release controversial health care bills designed to replace the current system in very different ways. It's unlikely either will pass, but those continued efforts shine a light on how difficult it will be to get lawmakers to agree on a solution.
The New York Times: Medicare For All Or State Control: Health Care Plans Go To Extremes
In one Senate office building, some of the leading lights of the Democratic Party gathered Wednesday to embrace what was once a proposal only of the far left: a huge expansion of Medicare, large enough to open the popular, government-run health program to all Americans. In another Senate office building, a smaller but equally adamant group of Republican senators stood together to take one last stab at dismantling the Affordable Care Act. They proposed instead to send each state a lump sum of federal money, along with sweeping new discretion over how to use it. (Pear, 9/13)
The Wall Street Journal: Senate Backpedals On Bipartisan Approach To Health Law
A week after Republicans and Democrats held the first bipartisan hearing on ways to fix the 2010 health-care law, the Senate was once more divided on Wednesday, with one side continuing efforts to undo the ACA and the other pushing to expand government-sponsored health coverage. Neither plan holds any appeal to the opposite party, and they lack even full support from their respective caucuses. That leaves the question of how Congress can move ahead on health care amid a widespread perception that the ACA is flawed but that Republicans don’t have a politically viable replacement. (Hackman, 9/13)
Los Angeles Times: Bipartisan Effort To Stabilize Health Insurance Markets Is Coming Down To The Wire
Despite broad support from consumer advocates, state officials and healthcare leaders across the country, a bipartisan effort in Congress to stabilize health insurance markets and control rising premiums is being threatened by resurgent political fighting over the Affordable Care Act. With time running out before millions of Americans could be subject to major rate hikes, it is increasingly unclear if Congress will be able to come together to offer relief. (Levey, 9/13)
The Hill: Trump Is 'Open' To ObamaCare Fix, Lawmakers Say
President Trump was "open" to the idea of a bipartisan ObamaCare stabilization bill but did not make any commitments during a meeting Wednesday with a group of House lawmakers, attendees said. The bipartisan group of lawmakers, known as the Problem Solvers, pitched Trump on their plan to stabilize ObamaCare markets. (Sullivan, 9/13)
Seattle Times: Sen. Patty Murray Is Working With Republicans On Obamacare Fix
During her re-election campaign last fall, Sen. Patty Murray promised repeatedly to work with Republicans to break gridlock in Congress. That promise was quickly put to a stiff test after the presidential election by the partisan chasm on health care. President Trump and the GOP pushed to repeal Obamacare, and Murray’s conciliatory campaign prose turned combative. At times, Murray, who has a record of bipartisan deal-making, sounded like a partisan warrior. (Kelleher, 9/13)
Kaiser Health News: Podcast: ‘What The Health?’ Health Plans Busting Out All Over
In a busy health week for Congress, Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee agreed on a proposal to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program for five more years, while Republicans and Democrats at the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee continued to pursue a joint plan to stabilize the individual health insurance market. (9/13)
Sixteen Democratic senators support Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) as he releases the new bill, throwing their weight behind an idea that's gaining traction with progressive voters.
The Associated Press: Sanders Would Make Government Health Care Role Even Bigger
In an animated, campaign-style rally, Sen. Bernie Sanders unwrapped his plan to remake the nation's convoluted health care system into federally run health insurance Wednesday — a costly proposal embraced by liberal activists hoping to steer the Democratic Party in upcoming elections. The Vermont independent's plan would hand government a dominant role in insuring Americans, a crucial step, he said, in guaranteeing health care for all. Census Bureau data this week showed the proportion of people lacking policies falling to 8.8 percent last year under "Obamacare," the lowest level ever recorded, but he called it an "international disgrace" that not all Americans have coverage. (Fram, 9/13)
Politico: Sanders Lays Down Marker With Ambitious Single-Payer Bid
The plan wouldn't completely wipe out private health insurance, but it would drastically shrink a system that currently covers more than 170 million Americans through their employers or on the individual market. Under Sanders' vision, health insurers would likely be relegated to covering elective procedures not covered by the government. "The average American family will be much better off financially than under the current system because you will no longer be writing checks to private insurance companies," Sanders said. (Cancryn, 9/13)
The Washington Post: Sanders Introduces Universal Health Care
“This is where the country has got to go,” Sanders said in an interview at his Senate office. “Right now, if we want to move away from a dysfunctional, wasteful, bureaucratic system into a rational health-care system that guarantees coverage to everyone in a cost-effective way, the only way to do it is Medicare for All.” Sanders’s bill, the Medicare for All Act of 2017, has no chance of passage in a Republican-run Congress. But after months of behind-the-scenes meetings and a public pressure campaign, the bill is already backed by most of the senators seen as likely 2020 Democratic candidates — if not by most senators facing tough reelection battles in 2018. (Weigel, 9/13)
Los Angeles Times: Turning Aside Risk, Democrats Rally To Bernie Sanders' Single-Payer Health Plan
In the days before Sanders’ announcement, Democrats as ideologically diverse as liberal Sen. Kamala Harris of California and conservative Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia expressed support for his effort. Their statements reflect a significant shift within the Democratic party, driven by multiple developments: a belief that the window has closed on Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare; a surge in support for government-run insurance among younger, more activist Democrats; and looming 2018 and 2020 contests that demand clarity on what Democrats support — not just whom they oppose. (Decker, 9/13)
San Francisco Chronicle: Bernie Sanders Kicks Off Medicare For All Proposal; Harris, More On Board
With California Sen. Kamala Harris and a handful of other liberal senators often viewed as the Democratic Party’s next generation of leaders lined up in support, Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a plan Wednesday for a government-run health care system he called Medicare for All. The proposal, which Sanders, independent-Vt., introduced to a packed audience in the Senate’s largest hearing room, comes as several Senate Republicans are attempting to revive their party’s floundering effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with a new plan that would provide states with lump sums of federal money to provide health care. (Lochhead, 9/13)
Bloomberg: Sanders Offers Medicare-For-All Plan Backed By 16 Senate Democrats
Several Democrats, including some of Sanders’s co-sponsors, made it clear that they see the bill as one of many options toward improving the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment. “The principle that I support is universal, accessible, affordable quality health care for all, and I think the single-payer system is a strong articulation of the principle,” said Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, a co-sponsor of the bill. (John, 9/13)
Concord (N.H.) Monitor: Shaheen, Hassan Split On Single-Payer Health Care
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen threw her support behind an expansive plan for single-payer health insurance set to be introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders – the only member of New Hampshire’s congressional delegation to do so. In a state
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