Health Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

Week in Review

  • Tom Price was confirmed by the Senate along party lines and sworn in to serve as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. He’s considered a key player in GOP efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, though many Republicans have been quiet about what they hope he’ll do in his first weeks in office.
  • Republicans continue to work toward their goal of repealing and replacing the ACA. In the House, Republicans are focusing on legislation that would expand health savings accounts, enact high-risk insurance pools, authorize tax credits to help people afford insurance, and reform Medicaid. They’re also working with the Congressional Budget Office on parts of a replacement plan.
  • Still, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), a conservative, warned against including replacement measures in a repeal bill.
  • House Republicans also considered legislation meant to tighten Medicaid eligibility as they mull broader reforms to the program. Still, their path forward on Medicaid, which would likely change how states receive federal funding for the program, is still hazy.

What’s Ahead

  • The Senate Finance Committee will hold a confirmation hearing on the nomination of Seema Verma to be the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Thursday.
  • Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) is expected to meet with President Donald Trump to discuss drug pricing, an issue Cummings has been vocal about as ranking member of the House Oversight Committee.
  • Trump has said he would put forth his health care plan after his HHS secretary is confirmed and in office. Now that Tom Price has been confirmed, it’s unclear when Trump may offer more details.

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

No events scheduled
Headache & Migraine Policy Forum luncheon 12 p.m.
KPMG event on the health IT agenda 8:30 a.m.
Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on mental health care treatment and services 10:30 a.m.
Families USA Health Action 2017 8:30 a.m.
House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on competitive health insurance Reform Act of 2017 10 a.m.
Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing on Seema Verma’s nomination to lead CMS 10 a.m.
Families USA Health Action 2017 7:30 a.m.


Morning Consult Health Top Reads

1) Trump: Obamacare replacement might take a year
Tara Palmeri, Politico

2) House GOP Lawmakers Face Tough Questions on Health Care
The Associated Press

3) Trump administration weighs Obamacare changes sought by insurers
Dan Diamond et al., Politico

4) Essential Facts About Health Reform Alternatives: Block-Granting Medicaid
The Commonwealth Fund

5) Obamacare repeal-replace effort begins to jell
Jennifer Haberkorn, Politico

6) One-Third Don’t Know Obamacare and Affordable Care Act Are the Same
Kyle Dropp and Brendan Nyhan, The New York Times

7) Manchin a no on Tom Price, setting up likely party-line vote
Caitlin Owens, Axios

8) Sen. Mike Lee: House Proposal to Replace Obamacare a ‘Horrible Idea’
Erin Mershon and Joe Williams, Roll Call

9) Tom Price Is Confirmed as Health Secretary
Robert Pear and Thomas Kaplan, The New York Times

10) Republican senators wrestle with changes to Medicaid
Peter Sullivan, The Hill


Health Brief: GOP Announces Changes to Health Care Bill

House GOP leaders made tweaks to their Obamacare replacement legislation aimed at bolstering Republican support, but many skeptical conservatives remain opposed to the plan. The changes include giving states more flexibility with their Medicaid programs, phasing out Obamacare taxes sooner and increasing tax credits to help older Americans afford health insurance.

Health Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

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.

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