KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

House GOP Votes To Defund State Exchanges In Health Law

The legislation, which was approved Tuesday, passed mostly along party lines, though five Democrats voted with the Republicans in favor of cutting funds for state health exchanges. The measure is not likely to fare well in the Senate.

The Associated Press: House Acts To Cut Money For Key Part Of Health Law
The House Republican drive to dismantle the new health care law piece by piece advanced Tuesday with a vote to disrupt the flow of federal dollars for health insurance exchanges, an integral part of the law's goal of expanding insurance coverage (Abrams, 5/3).

Politico: House Health Care Defunding Votes Strictly For GOP Base
Republicans insist the health care repeal effort hasn't jumped the shark - but even they admit the bills they're pushing through the House Tuesday aren't exactly the biggest repeal votes they've taken. The bills are getting smaller and narrower - going after shrinking slices of President Barack Obama's health care law, rather than the whole thing. The main one on Tuesday's agenda, which passed the House 238-183, repeals the mandatory funding for the state-based health insurance exchanges (Nather, 5/3).

NPR: House Votes To Cut Funds For Key Part Of Health Law
The Republican-led House approved Tuesday another bill aimed at defunding parts of last year's huge health care overhaul, but the measure doesn't stand much of a chance in the Democratic-led Senate (Rovner, 5/3).

CQ HealthBeat: States Don't Necessarily Have to Pass Laws to Prepare for Exchanges, HHS Officials Say
Health and Human Services officials have encouraged states over the past year or so to act sooner rather than later to pass legislation governing the creation of health insurance exchanges - without going out of their way to suggest that there's another approach. But officials confirmed to Healthbeat Tuesday that in fact there is another way a state can have an exchange, adding that it's not a matter of new policy for them to say so (Reichard, 5/3).

National Journal: House Votes To Defund Insurance Exchanges
The House voted on Tuesday to strip the health care law of an estimated $1.9 billion in federal money to help states establish insurance exchanges, but the legislation is not expected to go anywhere in the Senate. The chamber approved the bill on a party-line vote, 238-183, with five Democrats voting in support (McCarthy, 5/3).

The Hill: House Passes Health Care De-Funding Bill
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) said de-funding the exchange grants would reduce states' ability to create exchanges tailored to their own needs.The federal government can run a fallback exchange in any state that does not establish its own. "It's the exact opposite of what you're saying you want to do," Pallone said of the de-funding bill during Tuesday's floor debate (Baker, 5/3).

Reuters: Republicans Push To Repeal Health Care Funds
The exchange idea is central to the law that has faced a number of challenges in Congress and the courts since it was enacted more than a year ago. Tuesday's bill, which passed on a largely party-line vote of 283-183, likely will be blocked by the Democratic-led Senate, just as an earlier effort by House Republicans to repeal the entire health care law was defeated. Even though the bill targets insurance exchanges, the exchange idea is in fact a major element of a House Republican budget plan that would eventually end traditional government-run Medicare health plan and instead provide subsidies to private insurers to provide medical coverage for the elderly (Smith, 5/3). 

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