Overnight Healthcare: Key chairman open to delaying ObamaCare mandate repeal | Senate GOP warms to more generous health bill subsidies | Lawmakers blast proposed medical research cuts

Overnight Healthcare: Key chairman open to delaying ObamaCare mandate repeal | Senate GOP warms to more generous health bill subsidies | Lawmakers blast proposed medical research cuts
© Greg Nash

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchSenators debate new business deduction, debt in tax law hearing Romney sits courtside for NBA playoffs, heckles star Trump struggles to get new IRS team in place MORE (R-Utah) on Wednesday said he is open to delaying the repeal of ObamaCare's individual mandate for having insurance.

Hatch told reporters he "wouldn't mind" postponing repeal until after 2020, or even indefinitely.

"I don't mind the individual mandate being expanded," Hatch told reporters Wednesday. "But it all comes down to budgetary concerns and how it's going to be written."

The individual mandate -- a financial penalty on people who don't buy health insurance -- is one of the most unpopular parts of ObamaCare. The House-passed American Health Care Act would repeal the mandate, effective immediately. 

Read more here: http://bit.ly/2qxoKCN


Senate GOP warms to larger insurance subsidies for older and low-income people

Senate Republicans are coalescing around the idea of giving more generous subsidies to lower-income and older people than what's laid out in the House-passed GOP healthcare reform bill.

Many Republicans in the upper chamber generally agree that the skimpier subsidies contained in the House bill need to be beefed up for groups that need more help buying insurance.

"The way the subsidies were in the House bill, it really wasn't enough to help people who were on the lower end of the economic spectrum to be able to actually purchase it," Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerGOP anxiety grows over Trump’s Iran decision Trump backs Renacci in Ohio Senate race The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Tenn.) said.

Read more here: http://bit.ly/2rgeSQJ


Lawmakers shoot down Trump's proposed cuts to medical research

Lawmakers are making clear that they have no intention of carrying out President Trump's proposal to decrease funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation's medical research agency.  

In a hearing Wednesday, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) -- the chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee overseeing the NIH's budget -- said he was "disappointed" to see the White House's recommendation to cut NIH funding by about $5.8 billion in its budget proposal for fiscal 2018.

"I'm concerned that the reductions in the request would stall progress that our recent investments were intended to achieve. ... potentially discouraging promising scientists from entering or remaining in biomedical research," Cole said.

Read more here: http://bit.ly/2rrhisC


Study: 6 million with pre-existing conditions could be charged more under GOP plan

More than 6 million people with pre-existing conditions could face higher insurance premiums under the GOP's ObamaCare repeal bill because of gaps in coverage, according to a new analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).

Under the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which narrowly passed the House last month, states would be allowed to waive the community rating provision of ObamaCare, which prevents insurers from charging more for those with pre-existing conditions.

According to the analysis released Wednesday, 6.3 million people who have a pre-existing condition also have had gaps in coverage that would lead to a substantial premium increase. Since the legislation keeps ObamaCare's ban on insurers denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, those people would instead be charged a lot more money.

Read more here: http://bit.ly/2qsGuR4


What we're reading:

Senator Bill Cassidy has a track record in healthcare and ideas for reform. Will anyone listen? (Stat News)

FDA warns of faulty lead testing in children and mothers (The New York Times)

UnitedHealth Doctored Medicare Records, Overbilled U.S. By $1 Billion, Feds Claim (Kaiser Health News)


State by state

N.Y. single-payer healthcare bill passes state assembly (The Wall Street Journal)

U.S. governors work Senate as new power brokers in ObamaCare repeal (Reuters)