KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Obama Meets With Congressional Delegations As GOP Mulls Change In Tactics To End Budget Crisis

The president is having separate meetings with Democrats and Republicans from the House and Senate as both sides seek a solution to the impasse. Some Republicans are looking at a plan on entitlement changes from Rep. Paul Ryan as a roadmap, but others complain that he is abandoning the fight over the health law.

The New York Times: Obama To Meet With Congressional Democrats And Republicans
On Wednesday afternoon, it is the turn of the House Democratic minority, for what some Democrats characterized as a likely pep rally in the East Room for Mr. Obama’s hard-line position. Democrats are united behind the president's stance of not negotiating with Republicans about his health care law or anything else until House Republican leaders agree to fund and reopen the government, and increase the debt limit so the Treasury can keep paying the nation's bills. Mr. Obama has invited the Senate's Democratic majority and its Republican minority as well as, of course, the House Republicans, a White House official said (Calmes, 10/9).

The Associated Press: Obama Seeks Opening On Shutdown With House GOP Leaders Eyeing Short-Term Debt Limit Extension
Obama had House Democrats over to the White House, while Republican conservatives heard a pitch from the House Budget Committee chairman, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., on his plan to extend the U.S. borrowing cap for four to six weeks while jump-starting talks on a broader budget deal that could replace cuts to defense and domestic agency budgets with cuts to benefit programs like Medicare and reforms to the loophole-cluttered tax code. Curbs to "Obamacare" were not mentioned. At the White House, Obama told House Democratic loyalists that he still would prefer a long-term increase in the nation’s $16.7 trillion borrowing cap but said he’s willing to sign a short-term increase to "give Boehner some time to deal with the tea party wing of his party," said Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt. (Taylor, 10/10).

The Wall Street Journal: Shutdown Standoff Shows Signs Of A Thaw
Solving an immediate impasse over the debt ceiling wouldn't necessarily resolve the spending fight that has closed the government. Many of the same conservatives who backed a short-term extension of the country's borrowing authority said they are willing to keep parts of the government shuttered in order to keep fighting over the health law. Mr. Obama said Tuesday—and again in a Wednesday meeting with House Democrats—that he was open to a short-term debt-limit increase. White House officials view Thursday's meeting as an opportunity for Mr. Obama to make his case directly to lawmakers who are leading the fight to try to win policy changes, among them curbs to the health law, a senior administration official said (O'Connor, Hook and Lee, 10/9).

The New York Times: As Pressure Mounts, House GOP Weighs Short-Term Debt Deal
House Republicans, increasingly isolated from even some of their strongest supporters more than a week into a government shutdown, began on Wednesday to consider a path out of the fiscal impasse that would raise the debt ceiling for a few weeks as they press for a broader deficit reduction deal. That approach could possibly set aside the fight over the new health care law, which prompted the shutdown and which some Republicans will be reluctant to abandon (Weisman, 10/9).

The Washington Post: Key Republicans Signal Willingness To Back Down On Effort To Defund Health-Care Law
Key GOP figures on Wednesday sent their clearest signals that they are abandoning their bid to immediately stop the federal health-care law — the issue that forced the government to shut down — and are scrambling for a fallback strategy. Republican Party leaders, activists and donors now widely acknowledge that the effort to kill President Obama’s signature initiative by hitting the brakes on the government has been a failure. The law has largely disappeared from their calculus as they look for a way out of the impasse over the shutdown and for a way to avoid a possible default on U.S. debt (Tumulty and Hamburger, 10/9).

Politico: GOP Quietly Backing Away From Obamacare
A fight over Obamacare? That’s so last week. With the government shutdown firmly in its second week, and the debt limit projected to be reached next Thursday, top House and Senate Republicans are publicly moving away from gutting the health care law — a practical move that could help resolve the stalemate and appear more reasonable in the eyes of frustrated voters (Sherman and Raju, 10/10).

Roll Call: Republicans Refocus From Obamacare To Spending
As the GOP searches for a way to save face with conservatives, climb out of the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling, senior House Republicans are hoping to shift the focus from Obamacare to spending. Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed from Rep. Paul D. Ryan titled “Here’s How We Can End This Stalemate,” and noticeably absent was the one word that prompted the shutdown chess match: Obamacare (Fuller, 10/9).

Los Angeles Times: Rep. Paul Ryan Fails To Close Republican Divide
The complaint: His plan, which centered on trimming back spending on government entitlement programs, failed to mention the demise of Obamacare as a top Republican objective. Conservatives accused him of abandoning their cause and caving in to Democrats (Mascaro and Memoli, 10/9).

Politico: Paul Ryan: I Haven't Dropped Obamacare
Rep. Paul Ryan on Wednesday insisted that he wasn't giving up the fight against Obamacare as he defended an op-ed he wrote that proposed a solution to end the stalemate in Washington without mentioning the health care law. The day the op-ed touched off blowback from conservatives, the Wisconsin Republican told radio host Bill Bennett that even though he didn't mention Obamacare in his piece in the Wall Street Journal he still sees it as part of his reform proposal because it is an "entitlement" (Weinger, 10/9).

The Hill: Ryan: 'We're Going To Keep Going after ObamaCare'
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said is not giving up on halting ObamaCare, he just wants to add other reforms to the list in budget negotiations with Democrats and President Obama.  Ryan received criticism Tuesday for proposing a host of compromises to end the government shutdown and lift the debt ceiling because he failed to mention defunding or repealing ObamaCare — a chief demand of conservative Republicans that led to the government shutdown (Trujillo, 10/10).

The Associated Press: A Look At The Bruising Basics Behind The Struggle Over The Shutdown, Debt And Health Care
These are complicated times in the affairs of Washington and the nation, with death stars everywhere and all of them a struggle to comprehend. The partial government shutdown, the debt limit squeeze just around the corner, sequestration, how they fit with the health care law, how they don’t — it just goes on. So we’ve cooked up some questions about this grim galaxy and taken a stab at answers (Woodward, 10/9).

Kaiser Health News: Health On The Hill: Health Law Fight Complicated By Shutdown, Debt Ceiling Battles
Kaiser Health News’ Mary Agnes Carey and CQ Roll Call's Emily Ethridge discuss the latest developments on Capitol Hill. For instance, fights over defunding the health law remain at the center of legislative battles eight days into a federal government shutdown and just a week before the nation hits its debt ceiling (10/9).

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