What is next for health care reform efforts?

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For now, it appears the Republican led effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will be set aside in favor of moving on to other legislative priorities, such as tax reform.  However, there continues to be significant discussions related to possible next steps, including how to address ongoing concerns with instability in the individual insurance market place.

President Trump is threatening to cut insurance payments that subsidize health insurance for low-income people.  The support includes nearly $8 billion in payments to insurers.  The repeated threats to withdraw subsidies seek to undermine and destabilize the insurance market.

A bipartisan group of approximately 40 House members have come together to put forth their own plan.  The so called “problem solvers” Monday proposed creating a stability fund that states could use to reduce premiums. While the proposal contains some positive provisions, it also encompasses proposed cuts to health care providers in the form of bad debt and post-acute care provider reimbursements.  To read more about their proposal, click here.

In addition, a proposal by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Lindsey Graham, (R-SC), and Dean Heller (R-NV) would send billions of dollars in federal funding set aside for the ACA directly to the states in the form of annual block grants and would give states near-complete control over how to use the money.  The draft bill is complex and requires further analysis, however it is unlikely the legislation would be considered for action prior to the upcoming Senate recess, scheduled for August 11th.

In addition, a number of important legislative issues need to be addressed beginning in September, including funding the government, securing funding for the CHIP program, addressing the Medicare “extenders” provisions, Medicaid DSH cuts, and the debt ceiling.  These issues could crowd out further action on the ACA.  We will continue to closely monitor and share updates as to our strategy related to the uncertainty surrounding health care reform and the other important issues.

A special word of appreciation to everyone who participated throughout this long and arduous process. Your messages about the impact of the ACA on your communities and the state were powerful and effective!