Health Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

Week in Review

Trump, Democrats trade barbs over insurer payments 

  • President Donald Trump is threatening to withhold “cost-sharing reduction” payments owed to insurers in an effort to force Democrats to negotiate replacing the Affordable Care Act. Democrats, however, are refusing to play ball with Trump, and are seeking to include the payments in a spending bill that Congress must pass before the end of April to avert a government shutdown.

Insurers still concerned after ‘market stabilization’ rule

  • The Trump administration released a final rule aimed at keeping insurers from leaving the Affordable Care Act’s individual market next year. The rule shortens the 2018 open enrollment period, but doesn’t address insurers’ biggest concern: whether the government would continue to make the “cost-sharing reduction” payments, which help them cover low-income people.

Trump reverses course, wants to do health care first

  • Weeks after Trump said he would wait for Obamacare to “explode,” he now says he wants Republicans in Congress to take another shot at overhauling the health insurance system before moving on to tax reform.

GOP lawmakers take heat at home from all sides 

  • The conservative Club for Growth is targeting moderate Republicans, launching TV ads in their districts to get them on board to repeal Obamacare.
  • From the other side, a coalition of liberal groups launched a seven-figure TV ad buy slamming moderate Republicans in seven competitive districts over the GOP’s now-stalled Obamacare replacement plan.

Both parties agree on one thing: FDA user fees

  • Top Republicans and Democrats in Congress have reached a preliminary deal to extend funding for several programs that are crucial to the approval of new drugs and medical devices in the United States.

What’s Ahead

  • The White House continues to negotiate with the factions in the House GOP conference on a plan to replace Obamacare.
  • Marilyn Tavenner, president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, will meet on Tuesday with Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The meeting is set to cover Medicare, Medicaid and the individual market, according to a spokeswoman for the trade group.

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

No events scheduled
Bipartisan Policy Center event on patient treatment options 10 a.m.
No events scheduled
CSIS hosts discussion on future of global health financing 2:30 p.m.
No events scheduled


Morning Consult Health Top Reads

1) Trump’s threat prompts Democrats to play hardball over Obamacare payments
Mike DeBonis, The Washington Post

2) Trump Administration’s House Veterans Struggle to Rally Support in Chamber
Kristina Peterson, The Wall Street Journal

3) Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows pursues health care deal with Speaker Ryan
Eliza Collins, USA Today

4) Trump Threatens to Withhold Payments to Insurers to Press Democrats on Health Bill
Michael C. Bender et al., The Wall Street Journal

5) Trump Administration to Pay Health Law Subsidies Disputed by House
Robert Pear, The New York Times

6) GOP Health Plan Relies on Cutting Payments to Doctors, Hospitals
Zachary Tracer, Bloomberg News

7) This is how Obamacare might actually explode
Carolyn Y. Johnson, The Washington Post

8) Obamacare repeal bill is the zombie GOP can’t kill — or bring back to life
Jennifer Haberkorn and Kyle Cheney, Politico

9) FDA, industry fear wave of medical-device hacks
Casey Harper, The Hill Extra

10) Latest Trumpcare idea: Let different health plans fight it out
David Nather and Jonathan Swan, Axios