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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

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

Debate Over Next HHS Leader Could Be Challenge

On Friday evening September 29, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price stepped down unexpectedly during the controversy over his private chartered flights. The resignation marks the first cabinet secretary to leave the Trump Administration less than eight months after he was confirmed by the Senate. Deputy Assistant Health Secretary Don Wright was appointed

Health Care Maybe Alexander-Murray or Nothing

What is next for ACA repeal may be clearer later this week when and if Congressional leaders decide whether to include in the 2018 budget resolution an instruction to repeal the ACA.  Such a provision would muddy the fast track for tax cuts but would keep alive another shot at the Graham-Cassidy-Johnson-Heller block grant/Medicaid per

Home Visiting Approved by House, Waiting on Senate

On Tuesday, September 16, the House passed the Increasing Opportunity and Success for Children and Parents through Evidence-Based Home Visiting Act (H.R. 2824).  Support was not overwhelming at 214 to 209.  The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program, would be reauthorized for 5 years at its current funding level of $400 million, and include many other

CHIP Extension Waits Longer

By mid-week House Republicans were throwing cold water on the idea that they would move the CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) before the fiscal year and the authorization ran out. The debate and chance to act on CHIP by October 1, were thrown off when the Senate engaged in another ACA-repeal effort. On Monday, September