POLICY BRIEFINGS


Hart Health Strategies provides a comprehensive policy briefing on a weekly basis. This in-depth health policy briefing is sent out at the beginning of each week. The health policy briefing recaps the previous week and previews the week ahead. It alerts clients to upcoming congressional hearings, newly introduced bills, regulatory announcements, and implementation activity related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and other health laws.


THIS WEEK'S BRIEFING - OCTOBER 5, 2015


Progress Made on Reconciliation Bill to Repeal Parts of the ACA


The three House committees charged with crafting a reconciliation bill have approved language to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and defund Planned Parenthood. The House Ways and Means Committee, Energy and Commerce Committee, and Education and the Workforce Committee each passed reconciliation language out of committee along party lines. The House Budget Committee will take up the measures passed by the three committees and combine the bills before they are sent to the House floor. The reconciliation bill could be marked up as early as this week and be brought to the floor by House leadership later this month. The reconciliation bill would repeal a number of provisions in the ACA, including the individual and employer mandates, as well as the 2.3 percent medical device tax and the 40 percent “Cadillac tax” on high-cost health plans that will go into place in 2018. Language to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), the board charged with making cuts to the Medicare program if spending exceeds a certain level, will also be included. Additionally, the bill would defund the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which currently receives $1 billion per year, rising to $2 billion starting in 2022. Reconciliation will also repeal the requirement that large companies with 200 or more employees auto-enroll their employees in health coverage. Repealing parts of the 2010 health care law was the original purpose of reconciliation outlined in the instructions within the fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget resolution passed early this year. But the fast-track budget process will also be used to defund Planned Parenthood for one year while lawmakers investigate claims that the organization violated laws surrounding the procurement of fetal tissue. The $235 million saved from defunding the group would be shifted to community health centers. Movement on reconciliation allowed for the passage of a clean continuing resolution (CR) funding the federal government past September 30 detached from the Planned Parenthood language. The Senate is expected to take up the reconciliation legislation after it is passed by the House. Reconciliation requires only a majority of votes for passage, allowing the measures to bypass a filibuster by Senate Democrats. While Republicans are aware that the President will veto any such reconciliation bill that reaches his desk, the vote will appease conservative members of congress who have demanded defunding of Planned Parenthood and an opportunity to pass legislation that scales back the ACA. Proponents of the legislation do not have the two-thirds majority necessary to override an expected presidential veto.



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