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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

Graham-Cassidy Bill has Serious Shot at Passage

The Senate is expected to vote on the Graham-Cassidy-Johnson-Heller Medicaid block grant/per capita cap this week, with shifting odds of passage. Over the weekend, more questions than answers were being raised about its prospects, especially after Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said on Friday that he could not vote for the bill yet due to the

Home Visiting  Moves In Committee on Partisan Vote

On Wednesday morning and evening, the House Ways and Means Committee debated and passed a re-authorization of the home visiting program. The legislation, the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program, named the Increasing Opportunity and Success for Children and Parents through Evidence-Based Home Visiting Act (H.R. 2824) passed on a party-line vote. Despite

HHS Appropriations for FY 2018 Adopted By Bipartisan Senate Committee

On Wednesday and Thursday of last week the Senate Appropriations Committee acted on their version of an FY 2018 Labor-HHS-Education bill.  Now that the Congress has approved (on Friday) a CR that extends all FY 2018 funding until December 8, this bill will serve as a negotiating point with the House and Administration. The bill,

Title IV-B and Child Welfare

Child Welfare Services (Title IV-B part 1) and Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF, Title IV-B part 2) expired last year and they have a temporary extension through the end of this fiscal year.  As a result of this most recent CR current funding including the court funds will continue for now.  The Court Improvement

Congress Returns with Longer List For Fall

Congress is back and the list of priorities have grown due to Hurricane Harvey. That list may have become easier or more difficult because of the need for more disaster relief.  That all remains to be seen.  There are currently 12 working days when both houses are in session before the end of September and

Title IV-B and Child Welfare

Child Welfare Services (Title IV-B part 1) and Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF, Title IV-B part 2) expired last year and they have a temporary extension through the end of this fiscal year.  At risk are some smaller programs attached to PSSF, the Court Improvement Program (CIP) and grants for drug treatment and workforce

Long List For Fall as Congress Leaves

The Senate cut short their extended work schedule on Thursday when they finished work on several nominations including some from HHS.  They will be out until after Labor Day.  When Congress returns in September they will have a long list of items many that must be addressed by the end of the month or at

Next Steps on Health Care: Repair or Forget It

Last week’s debate and fire on repealing the Affordable Care Act was bookended by two narrow votes of 50 to 51 and 49 to 50 with three senators being the key actors.  In between the fewer than a dozen votes cast it became clear that a replacement plan was not possible and any reforms or