Kaiser Health News Original Stories

2. Political Cartoon: 'Someone Else's Headache'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Someone Else's Headache'" by John Cole, The Scranton Times-Tribune.

Here's today's health policy haiku:


It’s another day.
Are we done with the drama?
What will Congress do?

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Capitol Hill Watch

3. GOP Leaders Advance Plan To Avert Government Shutdown

In the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will advance a stop-gap spending bill that does not include controversial language to block federal funding for Planned Parenthood. A vote is also being planned in the House. But opposition from Republicans like Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, could still be a factor in passing the legislation.

The Associated Press: Senate Set To Act On Stopgap Spending Bill To Avoid Shutdown
The Senate is on track to advance legislation to prevent the government from shutting down after a midnight Wednesday deadline, but a wrinkle remains. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has moved to strip the measure of a provision that would cancel federal funding of Planned Parenthood. McConnell's move has rankled conservatives such as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and tea partyers in the House who want the taxpayer money withheld from the women's health care provider after the release of secret videos in which Planned Parenthood officials discussed the transfer of fetal tissue to researchers. (9/28)

The Hill: Week Ahead: GOP Leaders Coalesce Around Plan To Avert Shutdown
House Republicans are coalescing around a plan to avert a government shutdown over Planned Parenthood — just in time for the Oct. 1 deadline. At the same meeting where Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced his coming resignation, House GOP leaders on Friday said they are planning a vote on a short-term spending bill that will continue to fund Planned Parenthood. (Ferris and Sullivan, 9/28)

McClatchy: Thunder From The Right: Conservatives Help Push Boehner Out
The Republican schism will resurface quickly Monday, as Congress begins voting on whether to fund the government past Wednesday night, when money is due to run out. The turmoil in his party – underscored in a closed door meeting Thursday where conservatives said they’d challenge him – was a key reason Boehner accelerated his secret plan to step down. The diehards won’t back a budget unless Planned Parenthood is stripped of federal funding, and may have the votes to get their way. They see too much eagerness among Republican leaders to give in. (Lightman and Douglas, 9/25)

Politico: Ted Cruz's Big Moment
But Cruz’s supporters see the showdown in Congress over Planned Parenthood and the budget — which kicks into high gear this week and could stretch into the winter, on the cusp of voting in early states — as a critical opening for the first-term lawmaker. With the spotlight focused on Congress, they say, it will allow Cruz to make a sustained case to tea party and evangelical voters that he’s the one candidate doing battle in the trenches for their causes, just as many of them are picking a horse in the race. The goal, he and allies stop just short of saying, is to expose his chief competitors for the outsider mantle as pretenders by comparison. (Everett and Glueck, 9/28)

Meanwhile, a special panel will be created in the House to investigate the Planned Parenthood controversy. At the same time, The New York Times  reports that the reproductive health organization is fighting back and has put some opponents on the defensive  -

Politico: House Plans Special Committee To Probe Planned Parenthood
The House is considering a vote this week to create a special panel to investigate Planned Parenthood — the most direct move by congressional Republicans to probe allegations of improper fetal tissue sales by the group. The subcommittee would fall under the jurisdiction of the influential Energy and Commerce Committee. It was announced over the weekend by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who would serve as the panel’s chairwoman. (French, 9/28)

The Hill: Pelosi Blasts GOP Plans For Panel To Probe Planned Parenthood
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is bashing House Republicans’ plans to create a select committee focused on investigating Planned Parenthood after the release of controversial videos about the group’s handling of fetal tissue. “The Speaker’s resignation has not yet broken Republicans’ fevered obsession with shutting down government at the expense of women’s health,” she said in a statement Saturday, noting Friday’s news that Speaker John Boehner will depart after October. (Kamisar, 9/26)

The New York Times: Reacting To Videos, Planned Parenthood Fights To Regain Initiative
The undercover videos were made over more than two years, yet Planned Parenthood was taken by surprise when the first one was posted online in July. ... Immediately the organization was caught in a storm of internal confusion and defensiveness. There was disquiet among Democratic allies as Republicans, who control Congress and many state capitols, charged that the nonprofit organization was criminally “profiteering in baby parts.” A new video surfaced almost every Tuesday. But Planned Parenthood has fought back and managed to put some opponents on the defensive after gathering information from its affiliates; hiring lawyers, crisis managers and video experts to document deceptive edits; and working to solidify support among donors, Democrats and, according to polls, a majority of Americans. (Calmes, 9/26)

And a poll shows how voters are viewing this face off -

Politico: Poll: 69 Percent Oppose Shutdown Over Planned Parenthood
Nearly seven in 10 Americans — 69 percent — oppose shutting down the government over funding for Planned Parenthood, according to the results of a new national Quinnipiac University poll released Monday. Just 23 percent support closing the government over the dispute. Even among Republicans, a majority of 56 percent to 36 percent opposes a shutdown due to Planned Parenthood. (Gass, 9/28)

The Washington Times: No Shutdown Over Planned Parenthood, 7 In 10 Voters Say In Poll
About seven in 10 voters, including a majority of Republicans, oppose shutting down the government over the recent dispute about funding for Planned Parenthood, according to a Quinnipiac poll released Monday. Sixty-nine percent said they would oppose “shutting down the government over differences about federal government funding to Planned Parenthood,” compared to 23 percent who said they would support it, the poll said. (Sherfinski, 9/28)

4. Boehner Lashes Out At Republican Hardliners, Says The Gov't Will Stay Open

News outlets report on House Speaker John Boehner's Sunday morning talk show appearances during which he talked about his decision to resign from Congress and his frustration with others who encourage members to pursue strategies that "are never going to happen."

Politico: Boehner Unloads On GOP's 'False Prophets'
In his first one-on-one interview since his resignation announcement, Speaker John Boehner blasted right-wing lawmakers and groups as “false prophets” who “whip people into a frenzy” to make legislative demands that “are never going to happen.” The Ohio Republican also declared on CBS’ Face the Nation Sunday that there won’t be a government shutdown this week, though he’s “sure” it will take Democratic votes to pass a temporary funding extension. (Zapler, 9/27)

The Washington Post: Republican Hard-Liners Are ‘False Prophets,’ Boehner Says
Boehner referred, as he has in the past, to the ill-fated 2013 shutdown over funding of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare: "This plan never had a chance," he said, but he blamed outside forces for leading Republicans down an ill-advised path: "We got groups here in town, members of the House and Senate here in town, who whip people into a frenzy believing they can accomplish things that they know — they know! — are never going to happen." (DeBonis, 9/27)

The Washington Post: Boehner: There Will Be No Government Shutdown; Select Committee Will Probe Planned Parenthood
In his first major interview since announcing his pending resignation, House Speaker John A. Boehner vowed Sunday that there will be no government shutdown at the end of the month — adding that he will impanel a select committee to investigate Planned Parenthood after "undercover" videos renewed outrage among conservatives about government funding for the women's health provider. (Lowery and DeBonis, 9/27)

Modern Healthcare: What Boehner's Exit Means For The Ongoing Obamacare Battles
The House will likely carry on with its lawsuit against the Obama administration over the Affordable Care Act without John Boehner, who plans to step down as House speaker next month. But his resignation probably means that hopes for legislative tweaks to the law are dead for now. Boehner (R-Ohio) disclosed his plans first to fellow Republicans and then during a news conference Friday afternoon. (Schencker, 9/25)

Health Law Issues And Implementation

5. Regulators Shut Down N.Y. Health Co-Op

Health Republic Insurance of New York, the nation's largest nonprofit insurer that grew out of a provision of the 2010 health law, lost $52.7 million in the first six months of this year on top of $77.5 million in losses in 2014. It is the fourth such co-op to collapse in recent months.

The Washington Post: New York Health Co-Op Ordered To Close Down
The nation’s biggest nonprofit health insurer spawned by the Affordable Care Act has been ordered to shut down as it reels toward insolvency, disrupting coverage for more than 200,000 New York state residents and becoming the fourth such co-op to collapse in recent months. The action Friday to force Health Republic Insurance of New York out of business was a coordinated maneuver by state regulators and by federal health officials, who have been trying to nurture fledgling co-ops while dealing with the reality that most are hemorrhaging red ink. (Goldstein, 9/25)


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