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 - SEPTEMBER 11, 2017


HELP Charts Ambitious Plan for ACA Fix


Leadership on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee hope to reach a deal on a bipartisan bill to stabilize the individual health insurance market by the end of this week. They hope to garner the support of at least 25-30 senators within the next 10 days, which will be difficult given the reluctance of Republicans to support Obamacare spending so recently after attempting to repeal the law. Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and panel Democrats are pushing for multi-year funding of cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments and a commitment to strengthen markets for the long-term, while Committee Republicans have only agreed to fund the CSR payments for a single year. Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) has signaled that Democrats will have to agree to additional Affordable Care Act (ACA) reforms in exchange for the CSR funds. Republicans strongly support the expansion of 1332 waivers, which allow states to opt out of certain Obamacare requirements. Lawmakers face a tight timeline for passage of legislation. Insurers must make their final decision about whether to participate in the 2018 marketplace by September 27. Another roadblock to passage is the lack of a must-pass bill to which a market stabilization measure can be attached. Congress quickly approved a government funding, debt limit, and Hurricane Harvey aid package last week.


Cassidy/Graham Make One Last Push for Health Care Reconciliation


Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) plans to introduce legislation today that would convert a large portion of funding for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into block grants for states while repealing the individual and employer mandates. The plan, which Cassidy will introduce with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), has been endorsed by the White House. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a critical no vote in the failed Obamacare repeal effort, has said that he supports the concept of the Cassidy/Graham legislation. Sen. Cassidy is also planning to meet with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who also voted against the skinny repeal bill in July. The chances of bill passage, however, are slim, given that the reconciliation procedure which would allow it to pass the Senate with a simple majority is set to expire at the end of the month, and a score from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) could take up to two weeks. It is also unclear whether Senate leadership even intends to return to the health care debate in the near future, given their full agenda for the coming weeks.



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