Kaiser Health News Original Stories

2. Political Cartoon: 'Do You Even (Face) Lift?'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Do You Even (Face) Lift?'" by Chris Wildt .

Here's today's health policy haiku:


Half of the U.S.
Is diabetic or pre
And that’s a good sign.

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Health Law Issues And Implementation

3. Federal Judge Allows Congressional Republicans' To Press Health Law Challenge

U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary M. Collyer ruled the House can pursue its claim that the administration violated the Constitution when it spent public money that was not appropriated by Congress to pay for the health insurance subsidies.

The Associated Press: Judge Clears Way For House Lawsuit Challenging Health Law
A federal judge cleared the way Wednesday for a legal challenge by congressional Republicans to President Obama's health-care law to proceed. U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary M. Collyer ruled the House can pursue its claim that the administration violated the Constitution when it spent public money that was not appropriated by Congress. At issue is the more than $175 billion the government is paying insurance companies over a decade to reimburse them for offering reduced co-payments for lower-income people. (Biesecker, 9/10)

Los Angeles Times: Judge Allows Unusual House GOP Lawsuit Against President To Proceed
The judge rejected pleas by Obama’s lawyers to dismiss the House lawsuit on the grounds it involved a political dispute, not a legal one. Collyer noted that the House claimed it would suffer an “institutional injury” if the president and his aides could spend money on their own authority. Her ruling is only the first step, however. She told lawyers she would hear arguments in the fall on whether the administration’s action violated the Constitution. (Savage, 9/9)

The Washington Post: House GOP Can Pursue Part Of Health Care Lawsuit, Judge Rules
House Republicans filed their lawsuit challenging Obama’s executive actions in November. Criticized as a political ploy by Democrats, the lawsuit targeted two aspects of the health care law’s implementation: the delays in enacting the employer mandate, which requires most larger companies to offer health insurance, and the use of unappropriated funds for cost-sharing subsidies designed to alleviate out-of-pocket medical costs for people with lower incomes. (Viebeck, 9/9)

Reuters: U.S. Judge Rules Republicans Can Pursue Obamacare Lawsuit
The Department of Justice will appeal the court's ruling, said spokesman Patrick Rodenbush. An appeal could further delay proceedings on the merits of the claims. White House spokeswoman Jennifer Friedman called the decision unprecedented. "This case is just another partisan attack, this one, paid for by the taxpayers; and we believe the courts will ultimately dismiss it," she said in a statement.. (Dunsmuir, 9/9)

CNN: Judge Greenlights Obamacare Challenge
"The ruling today means that the United States House of Representatives now will be heard on an issue that drives to the very heart of our constitutional system: the control of the legislative branch over the 'power of the purse,'" said lawyer Jonathan Turley, who is representing the House. "The House filed this lawsuit after the administration openly violated the Constitution by paying -- and by continuing to pay -- billions in public funds to insurance companies under an Affordable Care Act program without any appropriation from Congress," he said. (De Vogue, 9/9)

Capitol Hill Watch

4. Some Conservatives Spoil For A Fight On Planned Parenthood Funds As Budget Deadline Looms

Stakes are high in this political showdown, and the White House has issued a warning to Congress over the looming deadline, saying a shutdown would be “wildly irresponsible.”

The Washington Post: GOP Tries To Avert Shutdown As Right Spoils For Planned Parenthood Fight
Congressional Republican leaders returned to Washington this week with no clear plan for extending government funding later this month that risks shutting down federal agencies amid a growing outcry from conservatives ready for a fight over funding Planned Parenthood. The once-normal process of approving a stopgap bill that keeps the federal government operating on the previous year’s fiscal budget has become anything but routine during House Speaker John A. Boehner’s five-year tenure. (Kane and Snell, 9/9)

Reuters: As Republicans Slam Planned Parenthood, Shutdown Threatens
Congressional Republicans showed no signs on Wednesday of having a clear plan for averting a U.S. government shutdown in three weeks over funding for Planned Parenthood, though senior party leaders have made clear they want to avoid that scenario. As has happened before, a shutdown on Oct. 1 would likely rattle financial markets. But Republicans had little to say about this in their remarks about the women's health group and conservatives' demands that its federal funding be cut off. (Lawder and Dunsmuir, 9/9)

Politico: On Planned Parenthood, Both Sides See A Winner
Congress is about to find out what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. Both Democrats and conservative Republicans are vowing not to budge from their entrenched positions on Planned Parenthood funding even at the risk of a government shutdown on Oct. 1 — creating a political showdown between the two parties that deeply appeals to their base and promises to make life miserable for Speaker John Boehner. (French and Haberkorn, 9/9)

The Washington Post: Obama Issues Familiar Warning To Congress: Don’t Shut Down The Government
Inside the White House, however, there is growing alarm that the congressional fight over the budget could result in the second shutdown in three years, after the government was shuttered for 16 days in 2013 over Republican opposition to Obama’s health-care law. GOP leaders in both chambers have vowed not to repeat that process. But conservatives led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), a presidential candidate, have threatened to oppose a spending plan that maintains funding for Planned Parenthood. That has left the outcome uncertain as federal spending authority expires Sept. 30. (Nakamura, 9/9)

In related news -

CQ Healthbeat: GOP Urged to Reverse Obamacare Taxes Via Reconciliation
A loose alliance of businesses and conservative groups has urged Republicans to emphasize tax cuts in an emerging House GOP reconciliation bill intended to repeal parts of the 2010 health care overhaul and reduce the deficit. The outside groups are urging Republican to strike revenue raisers in the health care law, including a 3.8 percent surtax on wealthy taxpayers' investment income and a number of business-related taxes, fees and penalties. (Ota, 9/9)

5. Kickoff Of Hearings On Planned Parenthood Marked By Partisan Clashes

In the opening salvo of the long-awaited hearings, neither Planned Parenthood nor the anti-abortion group behind the Planned Parenthood sting videos testified.

NPR: House Begins Series Of Hearings On Defunding Planned Parenthood
House Republicans want to defund Planned Parenthood, and that effort began today with the first in a series of hearings. This was all prompted by sting videos that sought to implicate the women's health group in various crimes related to the collection of fetal tissue for research. NPR's Jennifer Ludden reports that much of today's discussion focused on the morality of abortion itself. (Ludden, 9/9)

The Washington Post: Planned Parenthood Hearing On Hill Evokes Old Battles Over Abortion
A congressional hearing on Planned Parenthood’s tissue-donation program Wednesday devolved into an ideological clash over abortion rights as lawmakers sparred over the definition of “baby” and the appropriateness of certain abortion techniques. Planned Parenthood officials were not invited to testify at the hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, nor were activists with the Center for Medical Progress, an antiabortion group whose undercover videos targeting the women’s health organization triggered the hearing. (Somashekhar, 9/9)

The Associated Press: House Chairman: Planned Parenthood Probe Protects Taxpayers
Opening long-awaited congressional hearings, a top Republican said Wednesday an investigation of Planned Parenthood was intended to protect taxpayers from the kind of “horrors” suggested by secretly recorded videos of group officials discussing the sale of tissue from aborted fetuses. In a session highlighted by partisan clashes, Democrats said the investigation by the GOP-led House Judiciary Committee was just the latest in a decades-long effort to curtail abortion rights and was based on deceptively edited videos that show no evidence of wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood. (Fram, 9/9)

Los Angeles Times: Abortion 'Survivors' Criticize Planned Parenthood On Capitol Hill
As conservatives redouble efforts to end Planned Parenthood’s government funding, House Republicans on Wednesday fueled an already emotional and partisan debate by hearing testimony from two women who were born during botched abortions in the 1970s. “If abortion is about women’s rights, then what were mine?” asked Gianna Jessen, who was left with cerebral palsy due to a lack of oxygen during her mother’s attempt to terminate the pregnancy. (Howard, 9/9)