KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

House GOP To Advance Bill To Fund Gov’t Until Mid-December

The Republican leadership is also contemplating how to handle pressure from conservatives demanding they cut off all funding for the health law. Those members plan a rally Tuesday to build momentum.

Politico: House GOP To Advance Stopgap Spending Bill
Final details have not yet been released, but Republicans have stepped up their activity in anticipation of bringing a bill to the floor next week to keep the government funded into mid-December. The GOP leadership is still debating how to handle the pressure from conservatives for a vote on the CR to cut off all funding for health care reform. But the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which plays a major role in implementing the president’s initiative, is a prime example of the squeeze on Obama. The president had requested $4.82 billion last year for the CMS "program management" account but then settled for $3.8 billion last spring. … But the CR now would put Obama back at square one and at least $1.4 billion below his request for 2014 (Rogers and Bresnahan, 9/6).

The Washington Post: The Inside Story Of How Obama And Boehner Negotiate
Health-care spending was the big issue. Obama was talking about $400 billion in health-care cuts, while Boehner wanted $600 billion. "Can we split the difference here?" Boehner asked. "Can we land at $500 billion?" "I have to look at not just the numbers on a piece of paper," Obama said, "but what’s behind the numbers." The impact on elderly Medicare beneficiaries could be dramatic if they went too far. “Four hundred billion is it. I just can’t see how we go any further on that.” In a 2:30 phone call that afternoon, Boehner agreed to take increasing the Medicare eligibility age off the table. Obama said he appreciated the offer: "I’m going to give you a counter that gets us closer, so close that it would be silly for us not to get an agreement.” He called back just before 4 p.m. with $120 billion in other concessions. But Boehner realized that the extreme conservatives and tea party element among House Republicans would not go along with any of this (Woodward, 9/6).

The Hill: Effort To Defund Obamacare Tries To Regain Its Momentum This Week
Conservatives will take their defund-ObamaCare push back to Washington, D.C., this week with an event to rally support and combat a wide shift in focus away from the issue. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and a slew of House members and Tea Party leaders will host a rally Tuesday to pressure leaders not to pay for healthcare reform in the next bill to fund the government (Viebeck, 9/9).

The Hill: CBO: Delaying Obamacare Mandate Would Cut Deficit By $35 Billion
Delaying the individual insurance mandate in President Obama's signature healthcare law would reduce the federal deficit by $35 billion over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office said Friday. The House passed a bill in July to delay the employer mandate by one year, matching the White House's delay in the law's employer mandate. ... The budget office said delaying the mandate by a year would cut federal Medicaid spending by nearly $17 billion over the next 10 years because fewer people would sign up for coverage. The delay would cut roughly $9 billion from the cost of new tax credits to help low-income households cover the cost of their premiums, the CBO said. Delaying the mandate would also increase federal revenues (Baker, 9/6).

The Hill: Cantor Plans 'Strategic Votes' To Chip Away At Obamacare
The House will continue to hold targeted anti-ObamaCare votes throughout the fall, aiming to "dismantle, defund and delay ObamaCare," Majority Leader Eric Cantor said in a memo Friday. Cantor's preview of the fall legislative session says the House will stick to its strategy of forcing votes that target unpopular pieces of the healthcare law and could put Democrats in a politically difficult position (Baker, 9/6).

In other news, the health insurance industry is ramping up a lobbying effort to get Congress to repeal a tax designed to help pay for expanded coverage --

Politico: Health Insurance Tax Faces Challenge
The health insurance industry and business allies are stepping up their campaign to repeal another new Obamacare tax this fall — one that they argue will hit consumers smack in the health care part of their wallet. As Congress returns from recess, expect to hear more about the health insurance tax, or HIT, as it’s known, a levy in the health care law to raise $116 billion through 2023. That money, in turn, is supposed to help finance expanded coverage (Norman, 9/9).

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