Lawmakers returned to work this week facing a myriad of fast approaching deadlines involving significant issues that need to be addressed in a timely fashion. Republican hopes for repealing and replacing parts of the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) are still alive, though barely.
Most observers believe that health care reform will not be considered, given the fact that the Senate parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, has ruled that the reconciliation process expires at the end of September.
The ACA is among several pending health care issues that need to be addressed along with funding the government to avoid a shutdown and increasing the debt limit. Additionally, there is the need to pass a disaster relief package to help Texas recover from Hurricane Harvey, with a new focus on preparation for Hurricane Irma.
The priority health care legislative issues that need to be addressed include the following: secure cost sharing reduction (CSR) payments; renew funding for the CHIP program; pass Medicare “extenders” provisions; maintain funding for 340B program; and avoid Medicaid DSH cuts. These issues will likely crowd-out further action on the ACA.
It is possible that Congress will delay action on many of these issues or pass short-term “fixes,” allowing additional time to take action into November or December. You can read more about these issues in a Washington Post article here.