KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

GOP Schedules Repeal Votes To Bring Attention To Health Law

One of the highest profile efforts involves the repeal of the health law's medical device tax, and one proposal also includes language that would trim the measure's insurance subsidies for low- and middle-income taxpayers.

The Hill: GOP Plans To Call Attention To Health Care Law With Tax Repeal Votes Next Week
With a Supreme Court decision on healthcare fast approaching, House Republicans are doubling down on efforts to bring attention to President Obama's signature legislative issue. The effort, which includes votes on several measures to repeal taxes under the law, is intended to highlight unpopular aspects of the landmark bill as the presidential campaign between Obama and Republican Mitt Romney heats up (Hooper, 6/2).

The Associated Press: GOP Plays Offense In Medical Device Tax Fight
For Republicans, it's an irresistible trifecta: A bill that gives them an election-season chance to say they're fighting to protect jobs and cut taxes, even as it erodes financing for President Barack Obama's health care overhaul they despise. So though it is destined to die in the Democratic-run Senate, GOP leaders plan to push legislation through the House this week to repeal an excise tax on the makers of medical devices sold in the U.S. sales (Fram, 6/4).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: It's Health Subsidies Vs. Tax On Med Technology
U.S. House Republicans are proposing to trim health insurance subsidies for low- and middle-income taxpayers to pay for a bill sponsored by Minnesota Republican Erik Paulsen that would repeal a new tax on medical device makers under President Obama's health care overhaul. The plan could be a breakthrough for the two-term congressman, who has defined himself as a champion for the state's medical technology sector. But it could also open a new front in the ongoing battle over the federal health care law, which is now under review by the U.S. Supreme Court (Diaz, 6/3).

Minnesota Public Radio: Minn. Democrats Torn Over Medical Device Tax
A bill sponsored by Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen to eliminate a planned tax on medical devices like those made by Medtronic and other Minnesota companies has put Democrats on the state's congressional delegation in a bind. At issue for the Democrats is whether to support a key state industry or support the federal health care overhaul. The 2.3 percent device tax provides $29 billion in funding for the health care law over the next decade -- a vital stream of money. Paulsen, who represents Minnesota's 3rd District, introduced his first bill to repeal the tax on pacemakers, stents and other medical devices in 2010, not long after Congress -- with the House and Senate under Democratic control -- passed the health care bill (Neely, 6/4).

In other news from Capitol Hill -

CQ HealthBeat: Some Democrats Say They Will Not OK Medicaid Offset For Student Loan Measure
In an attempt to move forward on student loan legislation, Republicans are floating a Medicaid offset that Democrats have proposed in the past — but some Democrats say they won't accept that plan this time around. The idea — to limit how states can tax Medicaid providers as a way to increase their share of the federal matching payments — has popped up in some Democratic deficit reduction plans. But state health provider groups oppose the idea, and now some Democrats are saying they won't support the new GOP proposal (Ethridge, 6/1).

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