The U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) will hold two hearings when Congress returns after Labor Day. During the August recess, aides to Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) Chairman and Patty Murray (D-WA) Ranking Member, have worked together to come up with a group of bipartisan witness for back-to-back days of hearings that will be held on September 6 and 7.
The first hearing will feature testimony from five state insurance commissioners, while the next day the committee will hold a second hearing consisting of five governors. The committee hopes to hold additional hearings on health care the following week.
The ambitious plan involves moving quickly from hearings to drafting legislation by mid-September, in hopes of getting legislation passed by the end of the month. The goal is to, at minimum, guarantee the continued payment of cost-sharing reduction (CSR) subsidies to insurance companies and allow states more flexibility to adjust insurance rules through Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The pressure is on to take action by September 27, the deadline for insurers participating in the ACA exchanges to finalize their plans for 2018. Since Congress has a number of items it must pass by the end of the September, the best chance for bipartisan health-care legislation to be enacted might come if it is attached to one of those bills.