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President Continues Assault on ACA

The President on, Thursday October 12, took two actions designed to weaken the individual insurance market.  Although the first action of the day, an Executive Order to deregulate markets, drew the most initial attention, it is the second action on Cost Sharing Reductions (CRS) that could have the most immediate impact. The Executive Order is

Energy and Commerce Committee on Opioids

On Wednesday the House Energy and Commerce Committee took its turn at focusing on the Opioids epidemic.  This and other recent Congressional hearings are not without irony since they come against a backdrop of efforts to weaken the ACA and Medicaid which have increased access to critical substance use and mental health services.  The twin

GAO: HHS Action Needed on Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Earlier this month, the GAO issued a report, Federal Action Needed to Address Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. The GAO report was the result of a House bill included in last year’s CARA Act passed last year.  The GAO’s conclusion: “The rising opioid crisis has caused a significant increase in the number of infants born and diagnosed

Differences on Child Care Tax Credit and Children’s Credit Being Muddled

The Washington debate of tax reform is in the process of confusing and potential combining two separate and significant tax credits, the Child Tax Credit and the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.  The first one is provided to parents with a child under 17.  The second is a long time established and important tax

Administration Seeks Deal Breaker on DACA

The Administration on late Sunday October 8, released their priorities for any immigration reform as part of any deal on preserving the current protections for DACA students.  Under Secure the Border by Deterring and Swiftly Removing Illegal Entrants, Establish Merit-Based Reforms to Promote Assimilation and Financial Success and Enforce Immigration Laws Across the United States.

CHIP Moves Forward in House and Senate Committees

On Wednesday, both the Senate Finance Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee moved their version of a CHIP reauthorization. The Senate bill sponsored by Senate Finance Chair Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the Keeping Kids’ Insurance Dependable and Secure (KIDS) Act (S. 1827), would extend CHIP for five years

Budget Resolution Slams Spending and Programs and Opens Tax Fast-Track

The two 2018 budget resolutions adopted in the House and Senate Committees have two broad themes: larger tax reductions and larger budget cuts. The budget resolutions are different in the extent of their cuts with the House version being much grander in its mandatory and entitlement cuts and its cuts to the annual appropriations. Their

HELP Committee on Opioids: For Every Overdose There are 60 Addicts

Last Thursday the Senate HELP Committee focused on the topic of spreading opioid addiction and what current Administration leaders and departments were doing about it. One of the starkest statistics (from the CDC) is that for every opioid related overdose death, there are another 60 addicts out there. The witnesses were Food and Drug Administration

HHS Has New Number Two Leader

Last Wednesday, the Senate gave approval to Eric Hargan to the position of Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. As the official second in command at HHS, Hargan becomes the acting HHS leader. For a week, Deputy Assistant Health Secretary Don Wright served as Acting Secretary.  Hargan served at HHS in

Home Visiting Approved by House, Waiting on Senate

Now that the House has acted on their version of a home visiting reauthorization (the Increasing Opportunity and Success for Children and Parents through Evidence-Based Home Visiting Act (H.R. 2824)), and the Senate has their version of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program, (the Strong Families Act of 2017), advocates are strategizing how to extend