GOP faces big de­ci­sions in fi­nal­iz­ing ACA re­peal bill

Modern Healthcare - - THE WEEK AHEAD - —Vir­gil Dick­son

Law­mak­ers are get­ting antsy about when they will be­gin to mark up—or even see the de­tails, for that mat­ter—of a bill that re­places the Af­ford­able Care Act.

Zach Hunter, a spokesman for the House Energy and Com­merce Com­mit­tee, said no markup or vote has been sched­uled yet.

Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), who serves on the com­mit­tee, said he ex­pects the bill to roll back Med­i­caid ex­pan­sion, but with a three­year de­lay. Be­yond that, he and oth­ers are un­clear as to what the bill may en­tail or which leg­is­la­tors were work­ing on it.

Both the energy com­mit­tee and the House Ways and Means Com­mit­tee have health sub­com­mit­tees where a bill could orig­i­nate.

At­tempts to see the pro­pos­als that will be in the re­place­ment bill last week turned into an episode of “Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble.” Law­mak­ers from both sides of the aisle roamed the halls of Capi­tol Hill try­ing to get a glimpse of the doc­u­ment that GOP lead­er­ship is now con­sid­er­ing.

House Speaker Paul Ryan re­port­edly was fear­ful of leaks to the me­dia and wanted to tightly con­trol ac­cess to the bill un­til it’s ready for un­veil­ing. A new draft of the bill did leak to the me­dia March 3.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was turned away by an aide when he tried to en­ter a room where he thought the doc­u­ment was. Paul has crit­i­cized other re­cent pro­pos­als that he thought re­tained too much of the ACA and wanted to know if the pro­pos­als un­der con­sid­er­a­tion would do the same. Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), who serves on the energy com­mit­tee, was also stopped from en­ter­ing the room.

Mean­while, Ryan has told GOP law­mak­ers the bill would be drafted March 4-5.

Repub­li­cans are be­ing pushed to act quickly by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump. In a tele­vised ad­dress to Con­gress last week, he out­lined prin­ci­pals he wanted to see in the leg­is­la­tion, in­clud­ing an op­tion for Amer­i­cans to buy their own plans with tax cred­its and ex­panded health sav­ings ac­counts.

Even Sen. Rand Paul couldn’t get a glimpse at the work in progress.

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