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What's Next?

  • Obamacare Repeal Bill Is the Zombie GOP Can't Kill—Or Bring Back to Life Politico by Jennifer Haberkorn and Kyle Cheney—Republicans in Congress for the first time are lowering expectations for how much of Obamacare they can repeal and how quickly they can do it. As they meet constituents back home, GOP lawmakers seem trapped between the reality of their failed repeal effort and President Donald Trump's renewed promises this week to finish off Obamacare before taking on tax reform. Vice President Mike Pence is also still trying to keep the repeal dream alive, working with conservatives on new tweaks to the stalled House bill. But even if the ultra-conservatives come on board, there's no sign that the moderate Republicans needed to pass a bill are ready to sign on. Those dynamics mean the Obamacare repeal effort that has helped define the Republican Party for seven years may live on in a sort of political purgatory.

  • GOP Wrestles with Big Question: What Now? The Hill by Alexander Bolton - Republicans at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue are facing a big question this spring: What now? As President Trump approaches his 100-day mark at the end of this month, congressional Republicans have few accomplishments to point to and are divided over how to proceed on his two biggest priorities: healthcare and tax reform. Some Republicans think a potential solution is to merge the healthcare reform measure and the tax-reform bill. 

  • What Trump Can Do Without Congress To Dismantle Obamacare New York Times by Haeyoun Park and Margot Sanger-Katz—House Republicans left for spring break last week, without reaching a deal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Their bill to overhaul the health care system collapsed on the House floor last month, amid divisions in the caucus. Even without Congress, however, President Trump has the authority to modify important provisions of the health law, including many that House Republicans sought to change or repeal. 

  • Vital Directions and National Will JAMA by Donald M. Berwick—The report in this issue of JAMA titled "Vital Directions for Health and Health Care: Priorities From a National Academy of Medicine Initiative" brings some welcome sense making. A stellar, bipartisan steering committee, drawing on advice from more than 150 of "the nation's leading health and policy experts," commissioned 19 discussion papers and offers a summary of eight crosscutting policy priorities that those papers invoke. Their summary clearly reviews the magnitude of the problems in the current system, such as unreasonably high costs (now at $3.2 trillion per year), waste levels of 30 percent or more, persistent and unconscionable health disparities, vast failure to address social and behavioral causes of illness, and consequent, erosive burdens on the fiscal well-being of governments, the private sector, and working families. But it also notes with optimism "compelling opportunities and novel tools" for solving those problems, solutions that can thrive if conditions are set properly.

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