Health Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

Week in Review

  • President Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Mike Pence met with their respective parties on Capitol Hill, setting up dueling messages on the Affordable Care Act.
  • House Speaker Paul Ryan said legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare will happen this year, but a transition away from the law on the exchanges will occur over a multi-year period.
  • A growing number of Senate Republicans say they would prefer to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act simultaneously, although they haven’t said they would vote against repeal if it came up on the floor.
  • Senate Democrats are calling for an Office of Congressional Ethics investigation into the stock trading of Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, ahead of any confirmation hearings.

What’s Ahead

  • The Senate will continue debate on a budget resolution that sets up the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The marathon session of voting on amendments, known as “vote-a-rama,” is also expected and will likely include several health votes.
  • Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell will make remarks on the effects of repealing the Affordable Care Act on Monday at the National Press Club.

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell speaks on the Affordable Care Act 12:30 p.m.
No events scheduled
Brookings Institution event on research and development 10 a.m.
Cato Institute discussion on the 115th Congress’ agenda 12 p.m.
AEI panel discussion on fixing health care 8 a.m.


Morning Consult Health Top Reads

1) Why Obamacare is unlikely to die a swift death
Kelsey Snell and Mike DeBonis, The Washington Post

2) After Obama, Some Health Reforms May Prove Lasting
Abby Goodnough and Robert Pear, The New York Times

3) Outlook for 2017: Healthcare re-reform
Harris Meyer, Modern Healthcare

4) GOP Senators Stress Need for ACA Replacement Sooner Rather Than Later
Mary Ellen McIntire, Morning Consult

5) The Cost of Full Repeal of the Affordable Care Act
Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

6) Republicans finally have the power to repeal Obamacare, but they’re still not sure how
Noam N. Levey, The Los Angeles Times

7) GOP’s Health-Law Attack Spurs Messaging Battle
Peter Nicholas et al., The Wall Street Journal

8) GOP airs Obamacare divisions in Pence meeting
Jennifer Haberkorn and Burgess Everett, Politico

9) GOP won’t promise ObamaCare fix will cover all
Peter Sullivan, The Hill

10) Growing GOP Doubts Jeopardize Swift Obamacare Repeal in Senate
Steven T. Dennis and Sahil Kapur, Bloomberg News


Health Brief: GOP Senators Ask CBO to Fast-Track ACA Overhaul Review

Senate Republican leaders have asked the Congressional Budget Office to fast-track consideration of a plan from Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) to overhaul the Affordable Care Act. The CBO is reportedly in the process of analyzing the cost and coverage impact of the plan, as Republicans face pressure to make one last attempt at undoing the ACA before GOP senators’ ability to pass legislation with a simple majority expires on Sept. 30.

Health Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) hopes to reach a deal with Democrats on a plan to shore up the ACA exchanges early this week. A final agreement, if reached, is likely to extend key insurer payments, known as cost-sharing reductions, and include reforms to make it easier for states to establish reinsurance programs. Some Republicans are also pushing to give states more flexibility over required benefits in Obamacare plans, a proposal that is controversial with Democrats.

Health Brief: Some Moderate House Democrats Seek ACA Stabilization

While progressives this week rallied behind Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) single-payer health care bill, a group of moderate House Democrats in the New Democrat Coalition aligned themselves with the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee’s bipartisan push to stabilize the Affordable Care Act exchanges, which Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) aims to reach a final deal on by early next week.

Health Brief: Deal Reached to Extend CHIP Funding

Senate Finance Committee leaders reached a deal on a five-year reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, in a win for children’s health advocates who are seeking longer-term funding certainty for the program, which will expire at the end of the month without congressional action. The deal also gradually phases out the enhanced federal share of funding for state CHIP programs, which was increased under the Affordable Care Act by 23 percentage points.

Health Brief: Some Navigators Shut Down Ahead of ACA Enrollment Period

Several navigator organizations, including one that received the largest federal grant for Obamacare enrollment activities in 2016, are suspending operations ahead of the 2018 open enrollment season because they haven’t received contracts for funding from the Department of Health and Human Services, which could cause enrollment to plummet. The Trump administration announced plans last month to cut funding for navigator groups by about 40 percent, but health officials haven’t said whether the grants would end altogether.

Health Brief: Teva Names New CEO

H. Lundbeck A/S’s Kaare Schultz was named as Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.’s new chief executive officer, ending a seven-month search by the world’s largest generic drug maker to find a new leader. Schultz could face pressure to split the company into two businesses, one focusing on patented specialty drugs and the other on cheap copycat medicines

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