Overnight Healthcare: Rand Paul creates storm over access to ObamaCare draft bill

Overnight Healthcare: Rand Paul creates storm over access to ObamaCare draft bill
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Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulHealthcare fight pits Trump against Club for Growth GOP rep: Trump could be 'one-term president' if healthcare bill passes Overnight Defense: Pentagon chief urges Congress to approve budget boost | Senate fight over NATO addition MORE (R-Ky.) on Thursday went off in search of a draft of the House Republicans' plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare, creating a storm of controversy gleefully embraced by Democrats.

Paul complained that the ObamaCare bill was being kept in a "secret location." He then walked over to the House side with a copy machine in tow to seek access to a room where he said the bill was being held.

His move quickly created a spectacle, with reporters gathering around Paul for an impromptu press conference.

"We want to see the bill. We have many objections," Paul said outside of the room.

"We're here asking for a written copy of this because this should be an open and transparent process."

Read more here: http://bit.ly/2m1jvZF


Senate panel approves pick for Medicaid and Medicare chief

President Trump's pick to head the Medicaid and Medicare programs won approval from the Senate Finance Committee Thursday, sending her nomination to the full Senate.

Seema Verma's nomination was delayed Wednesday after too many members voted by proxy. She was approved on a 13-12 vote Thursday.

If confirmed as the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) administrator within the Health and Human Services Department, Verma will play a large role in reforming the programs, as well as GOP efforts on repealing and replacing ObamaCare.

Reforming Medicare and Medicaid has been a top priority for Republicans as they seek to bring down costs for the programs. Democrats opposing her nomination said she didn't answer their questions about what she would do with the programs.

Read more here. http://bit.ly/2lju5hC


Top GOP senator: Senate will take up House ObamaCare repeal bill

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynGOP senator: 'We still need to figure out what the president was talking about' on wiretapping Live coverage: Day two of Supreme Court nominee hearing Repeal of Obama drilling rule stalls in the Senate MORE (R-Texas) said on Thursday that Senate Republicans will take up a forthcoming House ObamaCare repeal bill rather than formulate an alternative bill.

The Senate's No. 2 Republican said that it was "correct" that the way forward for the upper chamber was to wait and see the House bill, then take up that legislation.

"We're working with the House. The goal is for the House to pass a bill that we can then take up and pass here in the Senate," Cornyn added, when asked if Senate Republicans were working on their own plan.

If the Senate changed the House bill, it would have to be bounced back to the lower chamber to be passed for a second time.

Cornyn's comments come after Senate Republicans huddled with Reps. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Kevin BradyKevin BradyObamaCare repeal faces last obstacle before House vote Mellman: Red in the face? Overnight Finance: White House backs off stock market boasts as Dow, Nasdaq drop | Trump budget shifts costs to rural voters who elected him | Fight over CEO pay rule heats up MORE (R-Texas) to discuss ObamaCare strategy and a forthcoming plan from the House. The Hill's Jordain Carney has more here: http://bit.ly/2mjReQP


What we're reading

More than 80 percent of patient groups accept drug industry funds, study shows (The New York Times)

GOP governors forming plan to keep Obama's Medicaid expansion (Bloomberg)

Birth defects in Zika pregnancies 20 times higher than in pre-Zika years, CDC says (The Washington Post)


State by state

Christie's state health spending plans get mixed reviews from health leaders (Press of Atlantic City)

Pence talks healthcare in Ohio (Associated Press)