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.


Senate May Expand Repeal of ACA in Reconciliation Bill

Upon return from Congress’ week long recess, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has scheduled a meeting for Senate Republicans to discuss provisions to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through the reconciliation process. Many Senate Republicans hope to restore repeal of the individual and employer mandates, which was removed from the House-passed budget reconciliation bill following evaluation of the legislation by the Senate parliamentarian, who found that these provisions could not be repealed under reconciliation in their current form. One possible way to include repeal is through changing the fines for not complying with the mandates to $0, a move that would create a budgetary impact – a requirement for measures passed by reconciliation. If the bill has the 51 votes needed to pass following the Republican conference meeting on November 30, the Senate could begin consideration of reconciliation on the floor this week. By expanding repeal of the ACA, conservative GOP senators who had previously expressed concerns about partial repeal may be persuaded to vote for the legislation. But it is still possible that the bill would lose the votes of more moderate Republican members who oppose the defunding of Planned Parenthood.

Panel Calls for Overhaul of World Health Organization

The Independent Panel on the Global Response to Ebola released a report last week calling for a rebuilding of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) emergency response capacity in order to better protect against future crises following the West African Ebola outbreak. The panel is composed of international experts in academics, research, and non-governmental organizations and was convened by the Harvard Global Health Institute and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The report recommends that the global health agency eliminate unnecessary programs and focus on its abilities that WHO is uniquely capable of handling. The panel also argues that funding should not be tied to specific programs, and points out that four out of five dollars the agency receives is earmarked by donors. The report indicts WHO leadership, calling for a strong leader capable of controlling member states, and urges the creation of a global health committee to call attention to emerging health crises. Recent figures indicate that the Ebola outbreak killed 11,314 and infected 28,634 people.

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