Health Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

Week in Review

Republican Study Committee backs ACA replacement bill

  • Speaker Paul Ryan’s Obamacare replacement plan got a boost Friday when leaders of the Republican Study Committee, the largest caucus in the House GOP, announced their support after the White House agreed to an amendment package that would give states the choice to block grant Medicaid rather than receive a per capita cap, and maintain work requirements for some program enrollees. But it is still unclear whether the bill has the 216 votes to pass, with leaders of the House Freedom Caucus remaining firmly opposed.
  • A day before the changes were agreed upon, the reconciliation bill was cleared by the House Budget Committee with a single vote to spare.

CBO: 24 million to lose coverage under GOP bill 

  • The Congressional Budget Office released its score of the legislation on Monday, predicting it would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 24 million over the coming decade and cause health-care costs to skyrocket for low-income seniors. The report also estimated the bill would reduce federal deficits by $337 billion over 10 years.

Obamacare enrollment dips for first time 

  • About 12.2 million Americans enrolled in Obamacare health plans in the 2017 open enrollment period, a decline in total signups for the first time.

Trump’s budget wish list strips NIH funding

  • President Donald Trump’s budget proposal calls for a $5.8 billion cut to the National Institutes of Health, equal to about 19 percent of its current $30.3 billion discretionary budget.

Trump setting up his health team 

  • Trump nominated Scott Gottlieb, a conservative health care expert and veteran of the George W. Bush administration, to head the Food and Drug Administration.
  • The Senate voted 55-43 to confirm Seema Verma as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

What’s Ahead

  • GOP leaders aim to have the House consider the reconciliation bill on Thursday. A number of amendments are expected to be considered, including one from the House Freedom Caucus, which is currently opposed to the current legislation. Changes to Medicaid that were agreed to on Friday are also expected to get votes.
  • The House Rules Committee is slated to hold a hearing on the legislation on Wednesday before it goes to the floor.
  • The chamber is also expected to consider several other health care bills that are part of the GOP’s plan to replace Obamacare.

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

House Rules Committee holds hearing on H.R. 372 and H.R. 1101 5 p.m.
Senate HELP Committee hearing on FDA’s user fee agreements 10 a.m.
House Energy and Commerce oversight subcommittee hearing on fentanyl and the opioid crisis 10:15 a.m.
House Rules Committee hearing on AHCA TBD
House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee hearing on FDA’s prescription drug user fee program 10:15 a.m.
Cato Institute event on Obamacare 12 p.m.
No events scheduled


Morning Consult Health Top Reads

1) Health Bill Would Add 24 Million Uninsured but Save $337 Billion, Report Says
Thomas Kaplan and Robert Pear, The New York Times

2) Ryan Open to Changing Health Bill as GOP Struggles to Reach Agreement
Mary Ellen McIntire, Morning Consult

3) GOP health-care plan: Key House panel calls for work requirements, additional cuts in Medicaid
Mike DeBonis and Sean Sullivan, The Washington Post

4) G.O.P. Senators Suggest Changes for Health Care Bill Offered by House
Jennifer Steinahauer and Thomas Kaplan, The New York Times

5) Poll: GOP Plan to Encourage Health Coverage Unpopular With Voters
Mary Ellen McIntire, Morning Consult

6) Trump said no Americans would lose coverage under Obamacare repeal. Paul Ryan won’t make that promise.
Kelsey Snell, The Washington Post

7) NIH would see huge budget cut under president’s proposal
Lenny Bernstein, The Washington Post

8) Trump and Ryan: Health Bill May Test Marriage of Convenience
Matt Flegenheimer and Maggie Haberman, The New York Times

9) The GOP’s dramatic change in strategy to pass its health-care law
Carolyn Y. Johnson, The Washington Post

10) Trump will nominate Scott Gottlieb to lead FDA
Sheila Kaplan, Stat News