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.


ACA Repeal/Replace Blueprint Unveiled

Before adjourning for a weeklong President’s Day recess, House leadership sent GOP members home with an Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal and replace policy blueprint to review. Republican leadership had convened sessions with rank-and-file members last week to discuss plans to repeal the 2010 health care law. The plan includes expanded use of health savings accounts (HSAs) and the financing of high-risk pools. Individuals would be provided with a refundable advanceable tax credit indexed by age to help them obtain health insurance. While Medicaid expansion would be repealed over time, states could choose to keep their programs open to newly eligible people but would no longer receive extra federal funding to cover the cost. The blueprint also calls for overhauling Medicaid to cap federal payments to states. The cuts made to disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments as a result of the ACA, however, would be reversed. The committees charged with writing the reconciliation legislation are still waiting for the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to score the legislative text. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has said that legislative text could be marked up as early as February 28. Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Michael Burgess (R-Texas), however, said that his panel would be prepared to markup reconciliation instructions in the next several weeks, noting that the week following President’s Day recess might be too ambitious of a timeline. In the Senate, lawmakers had the opportunity to attend a question and answer session with newly confirmed U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price. Republican senators were encouraged that Price signaled support for collaboration with Congress on ACA repeal and replacement, rather than pushing for a plan from the White House, as the President previously signaled might be the case. But Price offered few other specifics on the administration’s positions according to those in attendance.

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