As predicted, the last-ditch GOP effort to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act ended the way its predecessors did this week -- in failure. With a Saturday midnight deadline fast approaching, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) conceded Tuesday that they lacked even the 50 votes necessary to pass their bill using a truncated budget process.
So what happens next?
The focus is back on efforts to stabilize the individual insurance market, which has been reeling with uncertainty as the future of the Affordable Care Act remained in question. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and the panel's ranking Democrat, Patty Murray (D-Wash.), are restarting the bipartisan negotiations they began in August. The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is still set to expire on Oct. 1. Work on CHIP's reauthorization had begun on that in September, but was set aside in the unsuccessful effort to pass the broader Graham-Cassidy measure. It is all but certain the deadline will come and go and some states will have to begin shutting down the program. Tom Price's future as secretary of Health and Human Services appears in doubt, as more details emerge about his frequent use of private jet service, including for events that were both official and personal.
In this episode of "What the Health?" Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Alice Ollstein of Talking Points Memo, Margot Sanger-Katz of The New York Times and Paige Winfield Cunningham of The Washington Post discuss these issues and more. Rovner also interviews Bruce Lesley, president of the children's advocacy group First Focus, about efforts to renew the CHIP program.
In addition, for "extra credit," the panelists recommend their favorite health stories of the week they think you should read, too:
Julie Rovner: Kaiser Health News' "Medicaid Covers All That? It's The Backstop Of America's Ailing Health System," by Phil Galewitz.
Alice Ollstein: Vox.com's "Trump Administration Abruptly Drops Out Of Obamacare Events In Mississippi," by Dylan Scott; and BuzzFeed's "The Trump Administration Is Pulling Out Of Obamacare Enrollment," by Kate Nocera and Paul McLeod.
Margot Sanger-Katz: Statnews.com's "HHS Hints Are Major Chances To Medicare That Could Mean Higher Costs For Patients," by Erin Mershon.
Paige Winfield Cunningham: Cincinnati Enquirer's "Seven Days Of Heroin: This Is What An Epidemic Looks Like," by Enquirer and Media Network of Central Ohio staff.
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