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 - MARCH 6, 2017


Possible Reconciliation Bill Mark Up This Week


Republicans were briefed last week on the latest plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Several members who were briefed confirmed that the plan would cap the tax exclusion for employers providing health insurance to their employees, which could save $200 billion over 10 years. The House Energy and Commerce Committee is expected to markup repeal legislation this week . According to Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), the reconciliation bill will repeal funds for Medicaid expansion starting in 2020. Rep. Collins also said that a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score of the bill is unlikely to be ready in time for the panel votes. An early draft of the bill, which was leaked at the end of last month, has garnered criticism from a significant number of Republican lawmakers, including the head of the House Republican Study Committee Mark Walker (R-N.C.) and House Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows (R-N.C.). Both expressed opposition to the plan’s use of refundable tax credits, which they have characterized as a new entitlement program. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) responded that the draft was outdated, but that there is consensus around his plan for ACA repeal and replacement. In the Senate, Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have demanded a “full repeal” of the health care law, with the repeal language passed by Congress in 2015 as the floor for repeal this year. Senate Republicans plan to consider the measure once it is passed by the House, rather than propose a separate plan. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) has said that he believes the Senate will vote on ACA repeal by early April.


Health Care in Trump's First Address to Congress


In his first address to a joint session of Congress, the President voiced support for both the use of tax credits and an expansion of health savings accounts (HSAs) in repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). He also backed maintaining the law’s provision that requires insurance carriers to cover individuals with pre-existing conditions, as well as the provision of additional state flexibility to administer the Medicaid program. The President also mentioned support for medical liability reform, addressing the rising cost of prescription drugs, and expanding the ability to sell health insurance across state lines. Earlier in the week, President Trump had again suggested that his Administration may have plans to release their own plan to replace the 2010 health care law, separate from the work being done by congressional GOP leadership to overhaul the health care system. The President stated in a bipartisan meeting with state governors and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price that he hopes to see the White House plan in two to three weeks. Congressional leadership, as well as Vice President Mike Pence, however, continue to emphasize that lawmakers, Dr. Price, and other administrators are in agreement on a joint plan.



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