Kaiser Health News Original Stories

2. Political Cartoon: 'But I Play One On TV'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'But I Play One On TV'" by Edgar Argo.

Here's today's health policy haiku:


Repeal and replace
Just another day, but now
On the campaign trail.

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Campaign 2016

3. Health Law Repeal-And-Replace Plans Create A GOP 'Dilemma'

The Washington Post reports on how the Republican presidential candidates are wrestling with their messages. Meanwhile, John Kasich plans to keep one key portion of the health law, and Marco Rubio talks about health care during his Iowa soapbox speech.

The Washington Post: Republicans’ Obamacare ‘Repeal And Replace’ Dilemma Joins Presidential Contest
For Republican leaders, one loaded phrase represents the difference between the party they are and the party they wish to be: “repeal and replace.” Since 2010, Republicans have pledged to repeal and replace President Obama’s Affordable Care Act — promising a legislative backflip that would please conservatives who despise the law’s every word and moderates who want to keep some of its benefits. (Fahrenthold and Johnson, 8/18)

CBS News: John Kasich Explains The Part Of Obamacare He'd Keep
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, has a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, but there's one part of the controversial health care law that he'd keep. "You shouldn't be able to lose your health care because of a pre-existing condition," Kasich told CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett. "That's really, really critical." (8/18)

4. Scott Walker Details Obamacare Replacement Plan Keyed To Tax Credits Based On Age

The plan unveiled by Walker, the first top-tier GOP presidential hopeful to offer such specifics, would also -- among other things -- seek to hold down health care costs by reducing industry regulation, providing block-grants in the Medicaid program and allowing consumers to buy health insurance across state lines.

The Washington Post: How Scott Walker Proposes To Repeal And Replace Obamacare
GOP presidential hopeful Scott Walker has long said he wants to repeal President Obama's signature Affordable Care Act, but on Tuesday morning he detailed how he would replace the law. Walker's health care plan calls for lowering the cost of health insurance by reducing regulation of the industry, providing tax credits to offset the cost of private insurance plans and allowing people to shop for plans across state lines. He also wants to restructure Medicaid, the government-provided health insurance for the poor and disabled. (Johnson, 8/18)

The Wall Street Journal: Scott Walker Unveils Health-Care Plan
“It’s all about freedom,” Mr. Walker said Tuesday while introducing his proposal at a campaign event in Minnesota. “Putting freedom back in the hands of patients and families to make decisions about your health care and about your money.” Mr. Walker said his plan is akin to a “tax cut of about a trillion dollars. (Epstein and Armour, 8/18)

Politico: Scott Walker Lays Out Obamacare Replacement Plan
Scott Walker became the first top-tier Republican candidate Tuesday to release a plan to replace Obamacare, but conservative rivals said it is too liberal and would create a new entitlement. ... Speaking at a machine parts shop outside of Minneapolis, Walker also said he would sign an executive order to undo what he calls the “special deal for Congress,” which allows the federal government to pay a portion of Hill staffers’ and members’ health insurance as their employer. The provision has raised the ire of conservatives but repealing it would raise insurance costs for staffers on Capitol Hill. (Haberkorn and Cheney, 8/18)

Los Angeles Times: Scott Walker Sides With Trump On Immigration And Offers Alternative To Obamacare
Walker’s proposal to repeal and replace President Obama’s healthcare law hews to general conservative ideas for expanding health coverage with Medicaid block grants to states and a simplified system of federal aid to Americans to buy insurance. But the plan lacks many key details, including specifics on how it would be paid for. Any healthcare law that offers subsidies to tens of millions of Americans for health coverage, as Walker proposes to do, would probably cost hundreds of billions of dollars. (Bierman and Levey, 8/18)

The New York Times: Scott Walker To Increase Attacks On Washington
And Mr. Walker noted, in the course of previewing his Tuesday health care speech, that he refused to expand Medicaid in Wisconsin with money offered by the Affordable Care Act. He noted that “a couple of the other governors in this race went the opposite direction.” (Martin, 8/18)

USA Today: Scott Walker Unveils Health Insurance Plan
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker assailed Republicans in Congress on Tuesday for failing to repeal Obamacare while unveiling his own plan to repeal and replace the law. The GOP presidential candidate, who has been lagging in recent polls, decried GOP leaders in Washington who have had control over both chambers of Congress since January but have yet to send a bill to President Obama getting rid of the health care law. (Slack, 8/18)

CNN: Walker's Health Care Plan: Repeal Obamacare, Replace It With Conservative Alternative
He cast his plan, Tuesday, in terms of a broken promise from Congressional Republicans to repeal Obamacare. "People all across this country are fed up with Washington, I feel your pain, I'm fed up with Washington, too," Walker said. "I think about this, we were told by Republican leaders during the campaign cycle last year that we just needed a Republican Senate to be elected to repeal Obamacare. Well here we sit, you know both chambers of the United States Congress have been controlled since January by Republicans and yet there's not a bill on the president's desk to repeal Obamacare." (LoBianco, 8/18)

5. In Minn. -- Where Walker Unveiled His Health Care Plan -- Studies Find Premiums Are Lower Than In Wis.

Local news outlets offered varying takes on GOP presidential candidate Scott Walker's detailed Obamacare replacement plan. He outlined his approach in Minnesota, the state next door to his home state of Wisconsin.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune: Gov. Walker Tours Brooklyn Center Machine Shop, Touts Obamacare Replacement
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker proposed a replacement to President Obama’s health care law Tuesday at a Brooklyn Center machine shop, using an important policy speech to establish an early political foothold in a neighboring state he hopes can boost his Republican presidential prospects. ... Walker noted how, as Wisconsin governor, he rejected federal Medicaid dollars offered under the new law, and increased the income threshold under which a family of four is eligible for coverage under Medicaid. Over the same period, Minnesota, under DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, has increased public coverage availability for low-income residents. (Condon, 8/18)

Health Law Issues And Implementation

6. Alaska Lawmakers To Seek Court's Help In Blocking Governor's Medicaid Expansion Plan

Implementation of Gov. Bill Walker's plan was set to begin Sept. 1. Some lawmakers, though, are seeking a temporary restraining order to block it while a larger issue -- whether the governor has authority to accept federal funds for the expansion without a vote by the legislature -- is decided. Meanwhile, in Utah, supporters of expansion continue to push for action.

Alaska Public Radio: Alaska Lawmakers Vote To Sue Over Gov. Walker’s Medicaid Expansion Plan
Walker planned to begin implementing the expanded program on Sept. 1, but lawmakers will ask a judge to put a temporary halt in place until the courts can decide a bigger question — whether the governor has the authority to accept federal funds for the expansion without a vote of the Legislature. In the 10-1 vote Tuesday, Democrat Rep. Sam Kito was the only lawmaker on the Legislative Council who voted not to sue. Senate Majority Leader John Coghill (R-North Pole) said the governor has violated the state constitution by acting independently. (Maxwell, 8/18)

Alaska Dispatch News: Alaska Legislature Will Sue Gov. Walker To Block Medicaid Expansion
The Alaska Legislature on Tuesday said it will sue Gov. Bill Walker to block his move last month to expand the public Medicaid health care program without lawmakers’ approval. Following a private discussion Tuesday morning, a Republican-controlled House-Senate committee voted 10-1 to spend up to $450,000 on two law firms to represent the Legislature in a suit against the governor. (Herz, 8/18)