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News Update for April 28, 2017

News Update for April 28, 2017

No Vote on Revised Healthcare Bill This Week

The Republican healthcare reform bill doesn’t have the 216 votes needed to pass the House this week. Despite revisions that were made to appeal to conservative lawmakers, recent changes have not persuaded moderate Republicans to support the bill. Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA) stated his concerns by saying, “Protections for those with pre-existing conditions without contingency and affordable access to coverage for every American remain my priorities for advancing health care reform, and this bill does not satisfy those benchmarks for me. I remain a no vote on this bill in its current form.”

Healthcare Industry Shut Out of Republican Healthcare Reform

In addition to excluding Democrats, healthcare officials are also being shut out of healthcare reform talks. “Health insurers, who initially found House Republicans and Trump administration officials open to suggestions for improving insurance markets, say it is increasingly difficult to have realistic discussions, according to numerous industry officials.”

At almost every level (insurance companies, patient advocates, healthcare providers, and hospitals), those working in the healthcare system have had little luck in talking with the administration. “‘To think you are going to revamp the entire American healthcare system without involving any of the people who actually deliver healthcare is insanity,’ said Sister Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Assn., whose members include many of the nation’s largest medical systems.”

News Update for April 27, 2017

House Freedom Caucus Officially Endorses Revised Healthcare Bill

The House Freedom Caucus has made an official endorsement in favor of the amended Republican healthcare reform bill, meaning at least 80 percent of its members will vote yes on the bill. House Freedom Caucus spokesperson Alyssa Farah stated, “Over the past couple of months, House conservatives have worked tirelessly to improve the American Health Care Act to make it better for the American people. [Because of those changes,] the House Freedom Caucus has taken an official position in support of the current proposal.”

Despite Revisions, Moderate Republicans Remain Opposed to Republican Healthcare Bill

While revisions have won the support of conservative Republicans, moderates seem to be backing away from the most recent healthcare proposal. “Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), co-chair of the moderate, 50-member Tuesday Group, said he hasn’t detected any reversals among the opponents of the health care bill — in fact, he said, their ranks may grow.”

Democrats also opposed language that “appeared to exempt members of Congress and their aides from weakened regulations that states would be allowed to adopt.” Spokesman for Nancy Pelosi, Drew Hammill, stated, “It should be no surprise that TrumpCare has gotten so terrible that Republicans have resorted to exempting themselves and their families from the pain it inflicts. Speaker Ryan and congressional Republicans promised that Americans with pre-existing conditions would be protected, but it turns out they were only talking about themselves.”

Republicans are quickly trying to revise this controversial portion of their current healthcare reform proposal.

CSR Payments Not in Upcoming Spending Bill

Paul Ryan told reporters on Wednesday that funding for cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) will not be in the upcoming spending bill (which will fund the government through September). “We’re not doing that,” Ryan said. “That is not in an appropriation bill. That’s something separate the administration does.”

But this doesn’t mean the payments will be stopped. The White House has agreed to continue funding CSRs for the time being. Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader, confirmed the news. “Our major concerns in these negotiations have been about funding for the wall and uncertainty about the CSR payments crucial to the stability of the marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act. We’ve now made progress on both of these fronts.”

The future of CSR subsidies will be decided “outside of the congressional spending process.”

News Update for April 26, 2017

Healthcare Reform Discussions Ongoing After April Recess

The deadline for passing a government spending bill, and avoiding a shutdown, is Friday. While nothing has been fully agreed upon or scheduled, here is a short update of what’s happening with healthcare reform:

  • new Obamacare repeal and replace plan has been finalized by the Republican Party. The Freedom Caucus has not given an official statement about the revision, though it conceded to many Freedom Caucus demands. You can read the document, an amendment to the previous American Health Care Act bill, here.
  • Democrats will agree to increase the military budget by $15 billion if funding for cost-sharing reduction subsidies is guaranteed (around $10 billion). Otherwise, “Democrats will demand that the $15 billion … be matched with an equal increase in supplemental funding for non-military programs.”

News Update for April 19, 2017

Most Health Insurance Companies Plan to Stay on the Marketplace

A survey conducted by Oliver Wyman indicates that 96 percent of health insurance companies intend to keep offering Marketplace plans. A majority of those intending to continue on the Marketplace (71 percent) have no plans to change the coverage they offer. Of the companies surveyed, 75 percent plan to increase their rates, with increases ranging from less than 10 percent to more than 20 percent. Read the full survey here.

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