KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

House GOP To Vote On ‘Doc Fix’ Bill That Repeals Health Law Individual Mandate

The bill could put House Democrats in an awkward spot, but would be a nonstarter in the Democrat-controlled Senate and could kill prospects this year to get rid of the sustainable growth rate formula. Meanwhile, a right-leaning advocacy group unveils a $1 million ad campaign against congressional Democrats over the administration's proposed reductions in funding to private Medicare Advantage plans.

Politico: House To Vote On 'Doc Fix' – With Obamacare Funds
House Republicans are planning to bring up a permanent "doc fix" bill next week — paid for by repealing the individual mandate in Obamacare. It puts House Democrats in an awkward position. They have to either vote against repealing a Medicare payment formula that has long vexed doctors — or against a key, but unpopular piece of the Affordable Care Act. And because the bill isn't likely to come up in the Democratic-led Senate, the problem will still be unsolved (Haberkorn, 3/6).

Politico: $1 Million In Ads To Target Democrats On Medicare
Seizing on proposed Medicare Advantage cuts, the right-leaning American Action Network will unveil a $1 million ad campaign on Friday against three vulnerable Democratic senators and six House Democrats. Over the next two weeks, TV buys will be accompanied by mailings to swing voters and online ads directing voters to DontCutOurMedicare.com (Hohmann, 3/6).

McClatchy: Do GOP Rep. Ellmers' Claims Of Cuts To Medicare Advantage Plans Hold Up?
Rep. Renee Ellmers this week joined fellow Republicans who say the Obama administration is slashing Medicare Advantage to pay for the health care law. Ellmers and other House Republicans sent a letter to the administration this week, calling for "immediate reversal of their plans to make painful cuts to Medicare Advantage to pay for Obamacare." The recent spate of political warnings about Medicare Advantage stem from a Feb. 21 announcement of preliminary figures used to compute the rates Medicare will pay to private providers for Medicare Advantage plans in 2015 (Schoof, 3/6).

Still, the Republicans are weighing how to deal with the health law, which many had expected to make the key foil in their midterm campaigns. But some are rethinking that strategy as public attitudes on the law evolve.

Fox News: Republican Proposes Hiring Official Watchdog For ObamaCare
A Republican congressman is calling for the federal government to hire a full-time watchdog for ObamaCare, amid ongoing concerns about fraud and mismanagement. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., introduced a bill on Thursday that would create a "Special Inspector General for Monitoring the Affordable Care Act (SIGMA)." He told Fox News the position is needed to follow the money. "There's very specific criteria that the special inspector general is required to produce and follow up on," Roskam told Fox News. "But the point is it needs to be done holistically and in a larger context. It's just a common sense approach to government and oversight” (Emanuel, 3/6).

The Fiscal Times: Divided GOP Searches for 'One Voice' On Obamacare
Are Republicans fumbling their anti-Obamacare message ahead of the midterm elections? During the first months of the law's disastrous rollout -- plagued with website problems, cancelled policies and numerous delays -- it seemed as if Obamacare would be an easy target for the GOP. However, now that the majority of the website's glitches have been resolved and enrollment has increased, the Republicans seem to be at an impasse over how to deal with Obamacare (Ehley, 3/7).

The Fiscal Times: Americans Want to Fix, Not Repeal Obamacare
Though the majority of Americans have an unfavorable view of Obamacare—most say they would prefer to see the law fixed instead of repealed. That's according to a survey by Hart Research Associates and Public Opinion Strategies that found 54 percent of respondents say they want lawmakers to repair Obamacare, while 28 percent say they want to eliminate it. Another 17 percent say they want the law to remain as is (Ehley, 3/6).

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