Loom­ing bud­get show­down, ACA re­peal set the stage for a busy week in Wash­ing­ton

Modern Healthcare - - THE WEEK AHEAD - —Matthew We­in­stock

Mem­bers of Congress re­turn to work this week with two dead­lines hang­ing over their heads.

Law­mak­ers must work quickly to pass a spend­ing plan in or­der to keep the fed­eral govern­ment open past April 28, when the con­tin­u­ing bud­get res­o­lu­tion ex­pires. It will be yet an­other test for the Trump administration and GOP con­gres­sional lead­ers to unify a frac­tured cau­cus. They’ll also likely need help from Democrats, many of whom have yet to show an ap­petite for giv­ing the ma­jor­ity party a win.

The last govern­ment shut­down oc­curred in Oc­to­ber 2013 when con­ser­va­tives, led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), mounted an at­tack on fund­ing for the Af­ford­able Care Act.

Along with the bud­get show­down, healthcare could also be on cen­ter stage as Repub­li­cans try to stick to the prom­ise of re­peal­ing and re­plac­ing the ACA dur­ing the Trump administration’s first 100 days, which end April 29.

GOP law­mak­ers last week cir­cu­lated a new com­pro­mise plan be­ing crafted by Reps. Mark Mead­ows (R-N.C.) and Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.). The draft amend­ment to the Amer­i­can Health Care Act would re­tain the ACA’s pro­vi­sion that in­sur­ers cover 10 essen­tial ben­e­fits, but it would give states the abil­ity to seek a waiver to do away with that re­quire­ment. The draft amend­ment would also al­low states to seek a waiver from the ACA’s re­quire­ment that in­sur­ers use com­mu­nity rat­ing—as op­posed to in­di­vid­ual rat­ing—to set pre­mi­ums. Com­mu­nity rat­ing was in­tended to bring down costs for sicker mem­bers.

At dead­line, the draft amend­ment was still be­ing vet­ted by GOP lead­er­ship, and a new AHCA had not been re­leased. Con­flict­ing re­ports sug­gested the Trump administration and GOP lead­er­ship were at odds over whether a vote could oc­cur this week.


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