KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Health Law Spurs Concerns From Allies, As Well As Enemies

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, continues his battle to undo the health law, while a House Democrat from the deep South angers both sides of the political aisle. In other news, labor unions are frustrated the administration hasn't responded to their Obamacare concerns, while Republicans in tough re-election fights are wary of accepting big premium support to buy insurance in the exchanges.

Texas Tribune: Cruz Fighting An Uphill Battle To Defund Obamacare
On the statewide speaking circuit, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has made upending the federal Affordable Care Act sound simple: "The House of Representatives should pass a continuing resolution that funds the entire federal government, every bit of the federal government, except Obamacare," he told a group of Houston realtors last month (Rocha, 8/3).

The Associated Press: Barrow: Shutdown Threat Over Health Law 'Reckless'
In the past three years, Rep. John Barrow has outraged fellow Democrats with his vote against President Barack Obama's health care overhaul and been attacked by Republicans for refusing to support a full repeal. And the deep South's last white Democratic congressman is still defying both parties with his stance on the law. Before Congress adjourned Aug. 2, Barrow was among just four Democrats who sided with House Republicans voting to gut a key part of the Affordable Care Act that puts the Internal Revenue Service in charge of enforcing certain mandates (Bynum, 9/2).

Des Moines Register: Congress Preview: Rollout Of Health Care Reform
Even as major aspects of President Barack Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act are set to take effect this fall and early next year, lawmakers continue to debate changes large and small. Dozens of conservative Republicans in Congress have proposed defunding the law entirely — and have hinted at shutting down the government if they don’t get their way. Democrats and others, meanwhile, acknowledge small tweaks and fixes may be necessary as the law comes on line (Noble, 9/3).

The Hill: Labor Union Frustration Boils Over With President On ObamaCare
Unions are frustrated the Obama administration hasn’t responded to their calls for changes to ObamaCare. Labor has watched with growing annoyance as the White House has backed ObamaCare changes in response to concerns from business groups, religious organizations and even lawmakers and their staffs (Bogardus, 9/2).

Fox News Union Dumps AFL-CIO For Its Positions On Obamacare, Immigration Reform
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union has cut ties with the AFL-CIO, citing in part the private-sector union’s support for ObamaCare and immigration reform. In an August 29 letter to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, leaders of the 40,000-member union said they have become “increasingly frustrated” with the federation’s policy positions on such matters as immigration and health care reform (Fox News, 09/03).

Meanwhile, health insurance coverage for Capitol Hill lawmakers and their staffs may become an issue on the campaign trail -

Politico: Obamacare Litmus: Lawmaker Perks
Leaders on Capitol Hill fought quietly behind the scenes for months to tweak Obamacare rules, so the government could keep making big premium payments for aides and lawmakers when they were pushed onto the new health care exchanges. But that victory is turning into something else for Republicans up for reelection and in tight primary races across the country: the latest Obamacare purity test (Sherman and Palmer, 8/31).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Congress, Aides Prepare For Affordable Care Act
Congress faces a fast-approaching deadline for dealing firsthand with the requirements of President Obama’s health care reform law. A wrinkle in the Affordable Care Act is taking away employee health care benefits from members, forcing the lawmakers and their aides to buy policies from state exchanges or make other arrangements starting Oct. 1 (Mitchell, 9/2).

And some other prickly questions persist -

Kaiser Health News: GOP Lawmakers Demand Information From Groups Getting Navigator Grants
In a move that the administration described as a 'blatant and shameful attempt to intimidate,' 15 Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are asking recipients of the $67 million in health law navigator grants to brief the panel on how they intend to spend the money (Carey, 8/30).

The Washington Post: Signing People Up For Obamacare? House Republicans Have Some Questions For You
The navigators have become, as of late, a flashpoint in the Obamacare debate. More than a dozen states, my colleague Sandhya Somashekhar reported this week, have put restrictions on the work that these guides can perform. ... Health and Human Services described the letter as a “shameful attempt” to intimidate groups doing Obamacare enrollment (Kliff, 8/30).

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