Good morning ... On Monday, Republicans seemed to be inching closer to bringing Trumpcare back from the dead. Yesterday, that all fell part for a while. Then they talked for two hours and didn't settle anything. What will today bring? Read on....
The Republican talks on patching up Trumpcare sure deteriorated in a hurry. For a while yesterday, they dissolved into bickering and finger-pointing, with members of the Freedom Caucus saying the proposed compromise is getting worse — and House Republican leaders saying it's bleeding votes. Now, they're back to talking again — and talking and talking and talking, with no legislative text and no visible signs of progress.
The latest, via reporting by Jonathan Swan, Caitlin Owens and me:
So how will the House GOP leadership sort all of this out? If only there was a House GOP leader we could ask. And there is! House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy will join us at 8 a.m. Eastern this morning for an Axios-NBC News event on health care, moderated by Jim VandeHei and Chuck Todd. They'll also get smart views on the road ahead Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove and former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Health care wonks spent a lot of time yesterday digging up examples of what insurance companies used to charge people with pre-existing conditions before the Obamacare insurance regulations, if they covered them at all. A couple of the better ones:
That's clear from the latest Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll, released yesterday. The other big thing to know is who's responsible for any future problems with Obamacare:
Scott Gottlieb, President Trump's nominee to run the Food and Drug Administration, is coming to the Hill this morning for his confirmation hearing. Here's a guide to what you might hear when he goes before the Senate HELP Committee:
Getting a state to expand Medicaid is just half the battle for hospitals. Actually getting people to sign up for the coverage is the other half, and some hospitals are turning to outside vendors to run that process, Bob Herman reports from the Kaiser Family Foundation fellowship in Indianapolis.
What's going on: Indiana expanded Medicaid under then-Gov. Mike Pence, but many uninsured people were unaware of the expansion (called Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0) or how it works. Fayette Regional Health System, a small hospital in rural Connersville, Indiana, hired the billing company ClaimAid to look at its uninsured patients and sign them up for health insurance if they're eligible.
It's had an immediate effect: The hospital enrolled hundreds of patients and was able to collect $1.4 million last year — a return that more than offset the cost of hiring ClaimAid. "This adds bits and pieces back to us," Fayette Regional CEO Randy White said. It also shows how third-party vendors are able to make money from Obamacare.
You can sense the indignation in the letter Republican Rep. Fred Upton and Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette wrote to Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney. They're the sponsors of last year's 21st Century Cures law, which (among other things) boosts funding to the National Institutes of Health, and he's the one who's calling for a 19 percent budget cut for NIH for next year.
Between the lines: "Overwhelming bipartisan majorities" voted for the Cures bill, Upton and DeGette wrote. "Disease isn't Democratic or Republican." Translation: Good luck getting Congress to undo one of its biggest bipartisan health care accomplishments in years.
I learned a lot from this Medium post by Elisabeth Rosenthal, the editor in chief of Kaiser Health News. It's about how to avoid all of the unnecessary expenses you might get charged next time you're in the hospital. And don't think you'll know all the tricks if you work in health care world (or write about it for a living). Some of the biggest bills are hard for anyone to predict if you don't know what to watch for.
What we're watching today: Did I mention we're having a health care event? Also, Gottlieb confirmation hearing, Senate HELP Committee, 10 a.m. Eastern. Livestream here. House Appropriations Labor/HHS subcommittee hearing on the opioid crisis, 10 a.m. Eastern. Livestream here.
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