KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Senate OKs Mental Health Amendment To ‘Effectively Derailed’ Gun Bill

The amendment, which was added to the gun control bill a day after the broader measure that included background checks on gun purchases was rejected by the Senate, would expand a range of mental health programs. 

The Hill: Senate Votes 95-2 For Bipartisan Mental Health Amendment
The Senate voted 95-2 for an amendment to the gun control bill that would address mental health issues. The amendment, introduced by Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), expands federal mental health programs, including in education, suicide prevention, substance abuse and trauma centers (Cox, 4/18).

Politico: Senate OKs Mental Health Amendment To Gun Bill
The Senate agreed Thursday to tack a bipartisan mental health measure onto gun control legislation -- but the measure is more modest than advocates had sought, and the underlying gun bill has already been effectively derailed, at least for the time being. The vote on the mental health amendment offered by Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) was 95-2, with Republican Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah opposing. But it came a day after the Senate rejected broader background checks on gun purchases, prompting Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to suspend further votes on amendments to the bill (Cunningham, 4/19).

Some conservative groups break with GOP leaders in opposing legislation designed to bolster high-risk pools --

The Hill: GOP ObamaCare Bill Hits A Snag
Two powerful conservative groups broke with House GOP leaders Thursday to oppose a bill that would increase funding for part of President Obama's health care law. The Heritage Foundation and the fiscally conservative Club for Growth both said they oppose the bill, which passed out of a House committee yesterday (Baker and Viebeck, 4/18).

Meanwhile, Politico explores the current political challenges faced by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont. --

Politico: Max Baucus Stirring Controversy On All Sides
Up for reelection next year, the Senate Finance chairman and Montana Democrat is taking heat from all sides after -- within the space of a few hours -- he slammed the health reform law he helped write. … It all began with his widely reported comment to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Wednesday that he sees "a huge train wreck coming down" -- meaning the implementation of Obamacare, the law he helped write and shepherded through the Senate. … Baucus was talking about his worries about implementation and public outreach -- he didn't repudiate the health law itself (Cheney, 4/18).

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