Health Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

Week in Review

  • Republican congressional leaders released their legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. After an initially tepid response, the plan was endorsed by President Donald Trump and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. The White House launched a full-court press in support of the legislation, bringing lawmakers and conservative groups to the White House.
  • Most conservative lawmakers, political organizations and policy experts panned the legislation. Some conservatives are pushing to freeze enrollment in Medicaid expansion sooner than the bill proposes, and to add work or education requirements. Some members of the House Freedom Caucus have said the bill is dead in its current form.
  • Medical and doctors groups have said they don’t support the bill in its current form, pointing to likely coverage losses under the plan. But GOP lawmakers are not much concerned, pointing to the groups’ support of Obamacare.
  • House leadership says members have had and will continue to have opportunities to offer amendments. After marathon markups in the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means committees, the legislation advanced virtually unchanged. Leaders noted Republicans in both committees unanimously voted to advance the legislation.
  • Trump met with Democratic Reps. Elijah Cummings and Peter Welch to discuss drug pricing reforms, a rare topic for potential collaboration between the White House and Democrats on the Hill.
  • Trump also nominated Scott Gottlieb to serve as commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. Gottlieb served as a deputy commissioner of the FDA during the George W. Bush administration, and was considered to be favored by the drug industry for the post.

What’s Ahead

  • The Senate will vote on the nomination of Seema Verma to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Monday evening. She is expected to be confirmed.
  • The House Budget Committee on Wednesday will mark up proposals from the Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees to create one reconciliation bill that would repeal and replace major parts of the Affordable Care Act.
  • The Congressional Budget Office is set to release its analysis, or score, of the legislation as soon as Monday. That will show official estimates related to cost and how many people would be covered under the Republican plan.
  • GOP leaders are charging forward with moving their health care bill through committees, even though conservative members of the conference still aren’t on board. Conservatives are set to continue pushing for amendments that would ease some of their concerns.
  • White House budget director Mick Mulvaney is expected to put forth his budget proposal for fiscal year 2018.

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Healthcare Leadership Council Briefing on IPAB 12 p.m.
The Atlantic Policy Briefing on Biosimilars 8 a.m.
House Budget Committee Markup on Reconciliation Bill 10 a.m.
Center for American Progress Event on Women’s Reproductive Health 11 a.m.
Senate Aging Committee Hearing on Families in the Opioid Crisis 2:30 p.m.
Roll Call Live Discussion on Health Care 8 a.m.
Heritage Foundation Event on Tobacco Control in E-Cigarettes 12 p.m.
RAND Corporation Briefing on the ACA Future 12 p.m.


A Message from PhRMA:

Myth About Drug Importation: Importation saves money.

Fact About Drug Importation: Most of any potential savings from commercial-scale importation proposals would be absorbed by middlemen – not patients. Get the facts at

Morning Consult Health Top Reads

1) U.S. Republicans expected to unveil healthcare bill this week
Susan Cornwell, Reuters

2) Repeal of Health Law Faces a New Hurdle: Older Americans
Robert Pear, The New York Times

3) House Republicans release long-awaited plan to replace Obamacare
Amy Goldstein et al., The Washington Post

4) Tax Credits under the Affordable Care Act vs. the American Health Care Act: An Interactive Map
Kaiser Family Foundation

5) Millions Risk Losing Health Insurance in Republican Plan, Analysts Say
Abby Goodnough and Reed Abelson, The New York Times

6) Republicans’ Changes to Medicaid Could Have Larger Impact Than Their Changes to Obamacare
Haeyoun Park, The New York Times

7) Conservatives meet with Trump, who hints that GOP ACA fix could drift further right
David Weigel and Sean Sullivan, The Washington Post

8) Health bill highlights divide between governors, House GOP
Thomas Beaumont and Alison Noon, The Associated Press

9) Budget referee may call foul on Obamacare repeal
Rachana Pradhan, Politico

10) Trump Supporters Have the Most to Lose in the G.O.P. Repeal Bill
Nate Cohn, The New York Times

A Message from PhRMA:

Allowing the importation of drugs from other countries into the U.S. would lead to potentially dangerous outcomes for patients and increase the burden on law enforcement to prevent unregulated medicines from harming Americans. Get the facts on the dangers of importation.