The Health 202: House Republicans are divided over particular person mandate push in tax plan



House Speaker Paul Ryan following a vote on the Republican tax overhaul on Thursday. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

House Republicans are a “heck, yeah” on repealing Obamacare’s particular person mandate however nonetheless a “maybe” on funding its further cost-sharing reductions for low-income Americans.

At least that’s what I heard on Capitol Hill yesterday, as Republicans headed into badembly with President Trump shortly earlier than pbading their tax overhaul. House conservatives have been predictably thrilled at the potential for in the end repealing the person mandate in a ultimate tax invoice. Even some moderates mentioned they’re additionally in favor of ditching the mandate and its accompanying penalty for remaining uninsured.

“Let’s remember the mandate was called a tax by the Supreme Court,” mentioned Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.), who let’s keep in mind was ousted as chairman of the average Tuesday Group after serving to Trump and the Freedom Caucus craft a deal on Obamacare repeal. “Eighty percent of the people who pay that tax make less than 50,000 a year, so if we can eliminate one of the most punitive and regressive taxes in our generation, I’m open to that.”

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) summed up why he dislikes the mandate, in a tweet:

Pleased to see the Senate embody a repeal of the #Obamacare particular person mandate of their #TaxReform proposal–Americans should not be compelled to purchase a high-cost, low-quality product that they might not need or want.

Good information.

— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) November 14, 2017

These are the 2 looming Obamacare-related questions on Capitol Hill as Republicans hurtle towards the tip of the 12 months. Will lawmakers repeal the person mandate inside their tax overhaul? And will they fund the cost-sharing reductions, generally known as CSRs, in a separate invoice to maintain the federal government operating?

While the 2 priorities can’t be mixed right into a single piece of laws, they’re being seen as a twin method to appease GOP conservatives and moderates, who’ve so typically been at odds this 12 months over learn how to deal with the Affordable Care Act. The celebration as an entire continues to be clearly unsettled about learn how to method the regulation, torn between attempting to dismantle it or making efforts to enhance its marketplaces.

Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah) (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File )

Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah) appeared pragmatic. She mentioned Congress must fund the CSRs – which might badist insurers decrease premiums for customers – till Republicans get their health-care act collectively. And whereas she’d additionally prefer to repeal the mandate, she’s largely involved that the Senate pbades some form of tax overhaul so the entire effort doesn’t get mired down in partisan gridlock.

“If they’re not pbading something, it was for nothing,” Love instructed reporters. “If they are able to get their voters in line and actually work for the American people, I’ll be satisfied with that.”

House members acknowledged including mandate repeal right into a tax overhaul – as Senate Republicans have completed – injects political danger into the general debate. And it’s infuriated Senate Democrats, who agreed to badist a bipartisan plan to fund the CSRs however are actually steaming that Republicans nonetheless haven’t deserted their repeal efforts.

“Republicans who think they’ll be able to jam through a partisan bill that spikes health-care premiums and then make it all better by pointing to our bipartisan bill to reduce health costs are either fooling themselves or trying to fool their constituents,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) mentioned in an announcement yesterday.

Murray has struck a take care of Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) to fund the CSR funds for 2 years in a measure searching for total to stabilize the ACA marketplaces. Alexander has mentioned he’ll vote for repeal of the mandate — despite the fact that it might jeopardize his working relationship with Murray:

My colleague Mike DeBonis:

Spoke to @SenAlexander, who principally lays out a “repeal then replace” kind of state of affairs.
Says he’ll badist particular person mandate repeal in tax invoice, then dare Democrats to oppose Alexander-Murray.

— Mike DeBonis (@mikedebonis) November 15, 2017

Even although it is utterly unclear whether or not House moderates will in the end badist repealing the ACA’s particular person mandate, it’s additionally been unclear whether or not conservatives would conform to fund the CSRs, which they’ve lengthy termed a “bailout” for insurers. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis. has beforehand mentioned he wouldn’t deliver such a measure to the ground, and his workplace didn’t reply yesterday to questions on the place he at the moment stands on the matter.

“We shouldn’t be bailing out insurance companies,” Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), a House Freedom Caucus member, instructed me. “They were the ones that wanted Obamacare, and we shouldn’t be then bailing them out because Obamacare didn’t work.”

Yet some conservatives aren’t completely ruling out such a deal, saying it depends upon what a complete year-end spending bundle appears like. Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) mentioned he would want to see the “totality” of a invoice however that CSR funds wouldn’t essentially be a “stopper” for him.

“I’m a conservative, but I also realize there’s a greater picture out there,” Roe mentioned.

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A brand new ballot finds sturdy public badist for permitting extra Americans to purchase into Medicare, as some Democrats have proposed. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

AHH: Quick, cowl your ears, Republicans. More than six in 10 Americans say you now personal the U.S. health-care system, Obamacare and all. And majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents favor the thought of letting extra folks purchase into Medicare — an concept proposed by a number of Democrats. Here are a number of the topline findings from a Kaiser Family Foundation ballot launched this morning:

–Half of respondents mentioned if Obamacare enrollment is down this 12 months, it is primarily the Trump administration’s fault. There’s a major partisan divide on this query; whereas 78 p.c of Democrats mentioned they’d blame lowered enrollment on the administration, 73 p.c of Republicans mentioned it will be as a result of Democrats designed a flawed regulation. Independents have been extra more likely to blame Trump’s actions (48 p.c) than Democrats who wrote the regulation (36 p.c).

–Sixty-one p.c of all respondents view Trump and Republicans as now accountable for any future ACA issues, since they management the White House and Congress. Just 4 in 10 respondents mentioned Democrats are accountable for issues.

–Public opinion concerning the ACA stays divided, with 50 p.c viewing the regulation favorably and 46 p.c viewing it unfavorably.

–Which political celebration you belong to vastly impacts how a lot you belief Trump on well being care (shocker). Eight in 10 Republicans mentioned they belief Trump at the least a good quantity, whereas simply 4 in 10 independents and one in 10 Democrats mentioned they belief the president.

–Democrat or Republican, Americans love Medicare. Eighty p.c of respondents mentioned they’re followers of this system for seniors.

–Majorities of voters in each events additionally like an concept superior by some Democrats of permitting youthful Americans to take part in Medicare, though there’s barely larger badist for increasing it solely to folks between ages 50 and 64 (77 p.c badist) than increasing it to everybody (72 p.c badist).

–A good portion of the general public has seen adverts this month for market protection from insurance coverage firms attempting to promote plans (41 p.c mentioned they’ve seen all these adverts) or from one other supply attempting to teach them about protection alternatives (32 p.c).

OOF: Yesterday, Sen. Bob Menendez’s months-long corruption case resulted in a mistrial after a jury declared it was deadlocked and never “willing to move away from our strong convictions,” The Posts’s Alan Maimon and Devlin Barrett report. Teary-eyed, the New Jersey Democrat declared outdoors the courthouse it was “Resurrection Day.” “Anyone who knows me knows I never seek to fight, but I never shy away from one either. This was not a fair fight,” he mentioned.

Menendez was accused of corrupt bargaining with Florida eye physician Salomon Melgen by failing to reveal presents reminiscent of a resort keep, personal flights and marketing campaign donations from Melgen. Menendez’s legal professionals mentioned the federal government was attempting to criminalize a longtime friendship between the 2 males, and there was nothing corrupt about Menendez’s acts on Melgen’s behalf or Melgen’s monetary badist.

One of the jurors, Ed Norris, mentioned Menendez and Melgen got here near an acquittal, Devlin and Alan write. Ten jurors believed Menendez was not responsible, with simply two in favor of discovering him responsible. The jury of seven ladies and 5 males twice despatched notes to the decide saying it was deadlocked. “We cannot reach a unanimous decision,’’ the jury said in the second note just before noon Thursday. “Nor are we willing to move away from our strong convictions.”

But it won’t be over for Menendez. Justice Department officers mentioned they might evaluation the case to resolve whether or not to retry the senator, and prime Senate Republican Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) known as for a Senate ethics probe primarily based on the costs.

“Left unclear Thursday was whether or not Menendez would be capable to return to his perch as prime Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,” Devlin and Alan write. “Senior Democratic aides wouldn’t remark Thursday on any potential change in committee badignments, signaling no ultimate resolution could be made till after the Justice Department determines whether or not to retry Menendez.”

Menendez additionally fired his personal warning shot yesterday. “For those that have been digging my political grave so they may soar into my seat, I do know who you might be and I received’t neglect it,” he mentioned. 

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). (Christopher Smith/for The Washington Post) 

OUCH: Is the Drug Enforcement Administration deliberately blocking its prime decide from talking to Congress a couple of regulation curbing the DEA’s enforcement powers towards the opioid ? That’s the cost Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) is levying towards the company, saying she’s dismayed DEA Chief Administration Law Judge John J. Mulrooney II will not be permitted to attend a roundtable dialogue she is internet hosting Nov. 28.

“The decision to muzzle a critic of this law is unacceptable while the U.S. opioid epidemic rages out of control,” McCaskill wrote to the performing DEA administrator Robert W. Patterson, our colleagues Scott Higham and Lenny Bernstein report.

Asked about McCaskill’s fees, DEA spokeswoman Mary Brandenberger instructed The Post: “We cannot speak to this.”

All this follows a joint investigation by The Post and “60 Minutes” revealing an early model of the regulation, sponsored by Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.), was written by a drug-industry lawyer. Marino withdrew from consideration to be Trump’s drug czar following the experiences. McCaskill and another lawmakers have known as for the regulation to be repealed.

The Missouri Democrat is scheduled to carry a roundtable dialogue later this month, to which she’d invited Mulrooney. Following pbadage of the invoice final 12 months, Mulrooney penned a regulation evaluation article criticizing the measure. “If it had been the intent of Congress to completely eliminate the DEA’s ability to ever impose an immediate suspension on distributors or manufacturers, it would be difficult to conceive of a more effective vehicle for achieving that goal,” Mulrooney wrote on the time.


Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer ( speaks throughout a rally towards the Republican tax invoice on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. (REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein)

–Many Democrats have been levying this cost on the GOP Senate tax measure, which might repeal the ACA’s particular person mandate: specifically, that doing so would value the well being protection of 13 million Americans. “We’re kicking 13 million folks off medical insurance to offer tax cuts to the rich,” prime Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) mentioned from the chamber ground this week. No. 2 Senate Democrat Dick Durbin tweeted this:

Republicans now need to pay for tax cuts for the rich by taking well being care away from 13 million Americans.

— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) November 15, 2017

–The Post’s fact-checker Glenn Kessler ran this declare by his super-duper reality machine and guess what? It did not compute. The Democrats are utilizing inaccurate language, misrepresenting why fewer folks would have protection within the absence of the person mandate, Glenn writes. He explains:

Where Schumer and Durbin are flawed: The senator’s 13 million determine comes from a Congressional Budget Office estimate on the impression of repealing the person mandate. CBO estimated by 2025, there could be 5 million fewer folks on Medicaid, 5 million fewer folks within the marketplaces and three million fewer folks getting medical insurance protection from their employers. That provides as much as 13 million, however CBO says the motion could be voluntary. In different phrases, folks wouldn’t be compelled to surrender their insurance coverage as Schumer claims.

Where Schumer and Durbin are largely proper: As for the modifications serving to largely the rich, Schumer is on extra stable floor. Glenn has ceaselessly famous that as a result of the rich pay the biggest share of revenue taxes, it’s pure to anticipate they might reap a lot of the advantages of a broad-based tax minimize. But Senate Republicans could have thought they inoculated themselves towards the cost they altered the health-care regulation to profit the rich as a result of in addition they added components enticing to the center clbad.

The conclusion: The first a part of Schumer’s badertion stays problematic. CBO, in estimating the impression of repealing the person mandate, is usually describing a voluntary resolution by folks selecting to not purchase medical insurance. That’s not the identical as “kicking off” 13 million folks. Granted, some folks could really feel they don’t have a selection as a result of their premiums elevated, however that’s not the vast majority of the folks affected below CBO’s evaluation. 


–Trump repeatedly vowed on the marketing campaign path to combat the pharmaceutical and work to decrease drug costs, however his appointment of Alex Azar to steer the Department of Health and Human Services underscores a sample of choosing drug executives to fill the ranks in his administration, Stat’s Erin Mershon experiences. Many in his administration have labored within the very firms Trump criticized. Take a have a look at a few of his nominees to prime well being posts:

  • Azar spent greater than a decade at pharmaceutical large Eli Lilly.
  • FDA chief Scott Gottlieb was an adviser to GlaxoSmithKline and Bristol-Myers Squibb and was a longtime investor.
  • Keagan Lenihan, a prime adviser at HHS was beforehand operating a foyer store for McKesson.
  • Joe Grogan, who opinions health-care rules on the Office of Management and Budget, is a former Gilead lobbyist.
  • Lance Leggitt, the chief of employees at HHS, lobbied for drug purchasers previous to becoming a member of the administration.

This record exhibits “just how reliant Trump is on the industry he has promised time and again to rein in,” Erin writes.

“The trends in pharmaceuticals kind of run in parallel to the trends in the financial sector and Wall Street — you have an industry that Trump ran against pretty aggressively, with pretty strident language in 2016, and he is now seeing those industries as essentially farm clubs,” Jeff Hauser, who runs the Revolving Door Project on the Center for Economic and Policy Research instructed Stat. “He’s going to bring them up to the major leagues of his administration. It’s unusually stark and unapologetic.”

–Yet we must also be aware a few of these officers have in depth authorities expertise as properly. Both Azar and Gottlieb labored below former president George W. Bush, as did Leggitt and Grogan, as Erin notes.

It’s Friyay! A number of extra nice reads from The Post and past as you head into your weekend:







  • The Center for American Progress holds an occasion on “Women of Color and Mental Health.”


Fact Check: Are poor Americans carrying the tax burden of the person mandate?:

Here’s what Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) has mentioned about badual violence:

Late-night comedians Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah and others addressed the allegations towards Sen. Al Franken:

Meryl Streep spoke out about her personal experiences with violence at an annual award present by the Committee to Protect Journalists:

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