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KHN First Edition: March 15, 2017

KHN

First Edition

Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

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

Kaiser Health News: By The Numbers: Trump’s Choice For FDA Chief Is Versatile, Entrenched In Pharma
Sydney Lupkin reports: "President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Food and Drug Administration has deep ties to the pharmaceutical industry as a consultant, investor and board member. Scott Gottlieb, 44, also has worn many hats in a career that included two previous stints at the FDA, practicing as a physician, and writer/editor roles at prestigious medical journals. “It seems like the main question is, ‘Which Gottlieb are we going to get?’” said Dr. Robert Califf, who stepped down from his position as the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration in January." (Lupkin, 3/15)

Kaiser Health News: Americans Not Sold On Cost And Coverage Claims In GOP’s Health Bill
Jordan Rau reports: "A majority of the public is skeptical the Republican health plan would be an improvement over the Affordable Care Act, with widespread concerns that insurance costs would increase while people lost coverage, according to a poll released Wednesday. The dour public assessment, from interviews with 1,206 adults conducted March 6-12, came before the Congressional Budget Office released its projections on Monday." (Rau, 3/15)

Kaiser Health News: Two Words Can Soothe Patients Who Have Been Harmed: We’re Sorry
Sandra G. Boodman reports: "For patients and their families killed or maimed by medical errors, Crisp’s experience — in which doctors clam up and hospitals deny wrongdoing and aggressively defend their care — remains standard operating procedure in most institutions. But spurred by concerns about the “deny and defend” model — including its cost, lack of transparency and the perpetuation of errors — programs to circumvent litigation by offering prompt disclosure, apology and compensation for mistakes as an alternative to malpractice suits are becoming more popular." (Boodman, 3/15)

California Healthline: What Does The House Health Care Bill Mean For California?
As the most populous state with the largest economy in the country, California stands to be dramatically affected by changes to the nation’s health law. About 1.5 million people buy health insurance through the state’s exchange, Covered California, and most get federal subsidies. About 4 million receive Medicaid (called Medi-Cal here) through the program’s expansion under the Affordable Care Act. Altogether, Medi-Cal covers 14 million people in the state, roughly a third of its population. (3/14)

The New York Times: G.O.P. Senators Suggest Changes For Health Care Bill Offered By House
A day after a harsh judgment by the Congressional Budget Office on the House plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, nervous Senate Republicans on Tuesday suggested changes to the bill. They told Trump administration officials — including the health secretary, Tom Price — that they wanted to see lower insurance costs for poorer, older Americans and an increase in funding for states with high populations of hard-to-insure people. (Steinhauer and Kaplan, 3/14)

The Wall Street Journal: GOP Senators Say House Health Bill Won’t Pass Without Changes
Republican senators, alarmed by a nonpartisan report showing millions would lose insurance under the GOP health-care plan, warned Tuesday that the bill wouldn’t become law without fundamental changes. At least a dozen Republican senators, including some who had previously kept a low profile in the health debate, made clear they had concerns over the bill’s policy proposals, complicating House leaders’ hopes that the bill’s momentum would overpower internal GOP infighting over legislative details. (son and Hackman and Radnofsky, 3/14)

Reuters: Republicans Weigh Health Bill Changes As Doubts Mount
The White House and congressional leaders said on Tuesday they were weighing changes to their plan to dismantle the Obamacare health law as Republicans' questions mounted following an estimate that it would cause 14 million Americans to lose insurance next year.Press Secretary Sean Spicer said White House officials and leaders in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives were considering whether to tweak their bill, which faces growing doubts within party ranks. (3/14)

The Washington Post: There Are Now More Than 50 Republicans Skeptical Of The GOP’s Obamacare Replacement Bill
To get their version of an Obamacare replacement through Congress and onto President Trump's desk, Republican leaders need only a simple majority in both chambers to approve it. But that could be difficult. The magic number to pass the legislation in the House is 218, and in the Senate, 50. Republicans conceivably have enough lawmakers to get to those majorities, but not by much. Assuming no Democrats support the bill, Republicans can lose only 21 votes in the House and just two in the Senate. (Phillips, 3/14)

The Washington Post: In Virginia, Three GOP Congressmen Line Up Against GOP Health Care Plan
Three of Virginia’s seven Republican members of Congress have come out against House Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s plan to revise the Affordable Care Act - and the other four have yet to take a position. The dissent, from two hard-line conservatives and one moderate, illustrates the challenge House leaders face in pushing a proposal that the Congressional Budget Office said would reduce the deficit, but also leave 24 million Americans uninsured. (Portnoy, 3/14)

The Associated Press: Ryan’s Gambit: Second Health Care Bill To Woo The Reluctant
House Republicans are working on a companion to their bill replacing “Obamacare,” a legislative second act that would ease cross-state sale of health insurance and limit jury awards for pain and suffering in malpractice lawsuits. The problem: the so-called “sidecar” bill lacks the votes in the Senate. (Alonso-Zaldivar and Fram, 3/15)

The Associated Press: GOP Health Overhaul Puts Pressure On State Governments
The Republican health care plan means less money for states and gives them a tough choice: Find a pot of cash to make up the difference or let coverage lapse for millions of lower-income Americans. Governors and state lawmakers analyzing the Republican plan to replace former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act fear a return to the past, when those without health coverage used emergency rooms for their medical needs. That uncompensated care that was written off by hospitals or billed to the state. (3/15)

The Wall Street Journal: GOP Health Bill Will Lower Premiums For Young People, CBO Says
A federal analysis of a Republican health plan that shows it would leave millions more uninsured has a silver lining for GOP leaders: In general, premiums under their proposal would eventually come down for younger people. The report, which came out late Monday and was swiftly pounced on by Democrats as proof Republicans want to tear away health coverage from Americans, gives the clearest picture yet of the trade-offs in the GOP strategy to topple parts of the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a new plan. (Armour, 3/14)

The Washington Post: The GOP Health Bill Would Create More Insurance Plans That Trump Called ‘Practically Useless’
President Trump doesn't like high deductibles, and he's not alone. High deductibles, provisions of health insurance plans that leave people on the hook for thousands of dollars of medical costs before insurance coverage truly kicks in, are an unpopular part of health insurance. But if Republicans' health care bill becomes law, more people would land in insurance plans with high deductibles, according to the Congressional Budget Office analysis. (Johnson, 3/14)

NPR: GOP Health Plan Would Define Insurance Narrowly
When the Congressional Budget Office on Monday announced that the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would lead to 24 million people losing insurance coverage, Tom Price cried foul. (Kodjak, 3/14)

Reuters: Hospital Stocks Fall After Republican Health Bill Seen Leaving 24 Million Uninsured
Shares of hospitals and health insurers fell on Tuesday after the U.S. Congressional Budget Office forecast that 14 million Americans would lose medical insurance by next year under a Republican plan to dismantle Obamacare. Among the hospitals, HCA Holdings slipped 1.6 percent, Tenet Healthcare fell 4.2 percent, Community Health Systems shed 1.5 percent and LifePoint Health was down 1.3 percent. (Davies, Erman, Valetkevitch and Krauskopf, 3/14)

Los Angeles Times: Health Premiums Would Leap For Many Californians Under GOP Plan
Health insurance premiums would leap substantially for many Californians, especially lower-income people living in high-cost cities, under the House Republican plan to replace Obamacare, according to an analysis released Tuesday. Californians purchasing insurance through the state’s Obamacare program known as Covered California received $4.2 billion in subsidies in 2016 to help them buy coverage. (sen, 3/14)

USA Today: White House Spokesman Sean Spicer Knocks CBO Report On Obamacare Repeal
The Trump administration continued to trash the Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday for its analysis of the Republican health care bill, while pledging to work with conservatives who say the proposed replacement of Obamacare includes too much government regulation. "All of that is part of a comprehensive strategy to engage with members who support us, who have ideas and want to be on board, who want to be constructive in the process and achieve the president's goal of having a patient-centric health care system," White House press secretary Sean Spicer said. (Jackson, 3/14)

The Washington Post: 4 Big Things Missing From The CBO Report On Republicans’ Health-Care Bill
Congress’s nonpartisan budget referees on Monday provides the first detailed study of the real-world effects of Republicans’ bill to overhaul health care. The GOP bill, the Congressional Budget Office found, would repeal hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes, especially on industry and wealthy households. It would make deep cuts into Medicaid and provide smaller subsidies to people looking to buy health insurance. And after eight years, 24 million more people would be uninsured as a result of the bill. There are a few urgent questions that the CBO report does not address, however. Here’s a look at what we still don’t know. (Ehrenfreund, 3/14)

The Associated Press Fact Check: Both Sides Loose With Facts In Health Debate
The Congressional Budget Office report on a Republican health care bill set off an intense reaction in Washington, and some on both sides of the debate are playing loose with the facts. Republicans are overlooking President Donald Trump’s promise to deliver “insurance for everybody,” which the CBO makes clear will not happen if the legislation becomes law. Democrats are assailing Republicans for “attacking the messenger,” seeming to forget all the times they assailed the budget office themselves. (Woodward and Alonso-Zaldivar, 3/14)

The Washington Post: Fact-Checking The White House’s Rhetoric On The CBO Report
White House press secretary Sean Spicer offered a number of attacks and claims during a news briefing dominated by the new Congressional Budget Office report on the House Republican replacement bill for the Affordable Care Act. The report estimated that 24 million fewer people would have health insurance in 2026 if the law were approved in its current form, causing political headaches for the effort to replace Obamacare. Here’s a guide to his rhetoric. (Kessler and Lee, 3/14)

The Wall Street Journal: After CBO Report, Democrats See An Opening On Health Care
Democrats, after playing defense on health care for nearly a decade, are trying to turn the issue to their political advantage, targeting in particular lawmakers who have gone on record voting for a GOP plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committee, racing to advance the legislation, voted to approve the bill last week—before the Congressional Budget Office had analyzed its impact and found that the bill would leave 24 million more Americans without health insurance. (Hook, 3/14)

The Washington Post: In Wake Of CBO Analysis Of Health-Care Bill, Ryan-Aligned Group Launches TV Ads Seeking To Give GOP Lawmakers Cover
A group closely aligned with House Republican leaders is hitting the airwaves Tuesday with a new round of television ads defending 15 GOP lawmakers for moving to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, a $1.5 million investment that coincides with the release of a key congressional forecast predicting 24 million fewer people would have health insurance coverage over the next decade under the House GOP proposal. (Sullivan, 3/14)

The Washington Post: Trump Loyalists Sound Alarm Over ‘RyanCare,’ Endangering Health Bill
A simmering rebellion of conservative populists loyal to President Trump is further endangering the GOP health-care push, with a chorus of influential voices suspicious of the proposal warning the president to abandon it. From headlines at Breitbart to chatter on Fox News Channel and right-wing talk radio, as well as among friends who have Trump’s ear, the message has been blunt: The plan being advanced by congressional Republican leaders is deeply flawed — and, at worst, a political trap. (Costa and Rucker, 3/14)

Politico: Republicans Bet The Future On Health Care Bill
The party in power has twice attempted to overhaul health care in the past quarter-century. And both times it ended up with politically catastrophic results. Now, the GOP attempt to replace Obamacare is shaping up to be the defining issue of the 2018 midterm elections — one big enough to rattle the foundations of Donald Trump-era Washington and beyond. (Debenedetti, 3/15)

Politico: Republicans Can't Stop Feuding Over Obamacare
The scathing nonpartisan analysis of Republicans’ Obamacare repeal plan is hardening GOP divisions and raising doubts about whether the party in Congress can meet a self-imposed deadline to pass legislation by early April. (Everett and Bade, 3/14)

The Washington Post: Defiant Conservatives Still Fighting Trump’s Health Bill
Undaunted by fellow Republicans’ defiance, GOP leaders and the White House redoubled their efforts Tuesday to muscle legislation overhauling America’s health care system through Congress following a sobering report about millions being shoved off insurance coverage. President Donald Trump, whose strong Election Day showing in GOP regions makes him the party’s ultimate Capitol Hill vote wrangler, discussed the legislation by phone with the House’s two top Republicans. He also dispatched Vice President Mike Pence and health secretary Tom Price to hear GOP senators’ concerns. (Fram, 3/14)

The Washington Post: White House Tries To Salvage GOP Health-Care Proposal As Criticism Mounts
The White House launched an intensive effort Tuesday to salvage support for the Republican plan to revise the Affordable Care Act, even as a growing number of lawmakers weighed in against the proposal. One day after the Congressional Budget Office released its analysis showing that 14 million fewer Americans would be insured next year under the GOP plan, Vice President Pence and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price went to Capitol Hill to rally backing for the proposal. (Snell, Sullivan and DeBonis, 3/14)

Los Angeles Times: GOP'S Stumbles Over Obamacare Underscore The Party's Competing Goals For Healthcare Reform
The House GOP effort to repeal and replace Obamacare appeared in deep trouble Tuesday, underscoring the limits of a party that has traditionally put a priority on cutting taxes and government spending over digging into the details of safeguarding Americans’ healthcare. Many Republicans in Congress remain in outright revolt over the bill, warning it does not have enough votes to pass the House or Senate against stiff Democratic resistance. (Mascaro, 3/15)

Politico: 5 Obamacare Mistakes The GOP Is Repeating
Republicans took careful notes about the mistakes Democrats made as they passed Obamacare in 2010 and exploited them relentlessly to undermine support for the law. Now that they’re trying to repeal the law, they are walking into some of the same traps. (Haberkorn, 3/14)

NPR: Planned Parenthood Would Lose Milli
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