KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Manchin Says Health Law Could Be Heading Toward ‘Meltdown’

Reuters: Democratic Senator Says Obamacare Could Have 'Meltdown,' Hurt Party
President Barack Obama's healthcare law could have a "meltdown" and make it difficult for his Democratic Party to keep control of the U.S. Senate next year if ongoing problems with the program are not resolved, a Democratic senator said on Sunday. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who has urged delaying a penalty for people who do not enroll for health insurance in 2014 under the law, told CNN that a transitional year was needed for the complex healthcare program, commonly known as Obamacare, to work (Cornwell, 12/22). 

The Washington Post: Manchin: Obamacare Could Suffer 'Complete Meltdown'
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Sunday that Obamacare could be headed for a "complete meltdown" if costs rise too fast and people are unhappy with their coverage. "If it's so much more expensive than what we anticipated, and if the coverage is not as good as what we've had, you've got a complete meltdown at that time," Manchin said on CNN’s "State of the Union." The senator said such a situation would result in the law collapsing under "its own weight" (Blake, 12/22). 

CNN: Manchin Continues Push For One-Year Delay To Obamacare
Manchin, along with Sen. Mark Kirk, a Republican from Illinois, has endorsed legislation delaying until 2015 the requirement that virtually all Americans have health insurance or face a penalty fee. Independent of the technical glitches that plagued the federal marketplace's initial launch on HealthCare.gov, Manchin said the year-long delay is necessary to improve the product as a whole (Davidsen, 12/22).

NBC News: Schumer Sees Job Creation And Middle-Class Income Growth As Defining Issues For 2014
[Sen. Charles Schumer of New York] said Sunday that "what most Americans want us to do is not repeal Obamacare – which is what our Republican colleagues are focused on -- but fix it. The president is working to fix it; we are working in the Senate to fix it. We urge our Republican colleagues to join us in fixing it." But the Senate leadership hasn’t taken action on Obamacare revision bills such as one offered by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D- La., which would allow people to continue individual coverage unless their health insurance firm cancels all coverage in the individual market (Curry, 12/22).

The Hill: Coburn: Republicans Should Focus On Healthcare Solutions
A key Senate Republican says his party should quit railing on Obamacare and start talking about solutions to the healthcare problem. Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn told "Meet The Press" host David Gregory that Republicans "ought to talk about healthcare and what we’re for instead of talking about what we're against" (Hooper, 12/22).

The Associated Press: Rough Health Law Fallout Tightens Key Senate Races
Thanks to the fiasco that followed the launch of President Barack Obama's health care law, Democrats are bracing for hard-fought Senate races in states they hoped to win with ease just two months ago. Weeks of technical problems with the health insurance enrollment website and anxiety over insurance cancellations for millions of people have erased early advantages enjoyed by Democratic candidates Gary Peters in Michigan and Mark Udall in Colorado (Beaumont, 12/21).

Politico: Huckabee Says Obamacare 'Not Working'
The Affordable Care Act is "not working out very well," Mike Huckabee said Sunday. Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," the former Republican governor of Arkansas said President Barack Obama is making "arbitrary changes" to the law because it is failing, referring to the Obama administration's latest change to the ACA, which suspended the individual mandate for people whose policies have been canceled. Huckabee, a potential presidential candidate in 2016, said most families under the law are now seeing rising premiums, despite the Obama administration's claims that the law would reduce costs. He also said the president is losing credibility on the issue (Topaz, 12/22).

The Hill: GOP Rep: Young People Ripped Off By O-Care
One of the youngest House Republicans cried foul on behalf of young people he says are being ripped off by Obamacare. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) took to the airwaves on Saturday, hammering the White House for efforts to sell a "bad product" to young Americans. ... Speaking from former president Ronald Reagan’s alma mater Eureka College in Illinois, Schock contended that Obama has stifled opportunities for young people to thrive economically. "Young people helped put the president in office, and with this health care law, he's pushing them into years of less choice, fewer opportunities, and larger bills," Schock said (Hooper, 12/21).

Politico: Republicans: Health Law Is A Bad Deal For Young People
Just days after the Obama administration introduced Pajama Boy to urge young adults to sign up for health care, Republicans used their weekly address to tell the same people not to be fooled. Their message: Obamacare is a bad deal for them (Villacorta, 12/21).

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