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Recent events in healthcare policy and news

Summary

September was a busy month in healthcare. The Cassidy-Graham bill, a last hurrah “repeal and replace” bill under budget reconciliation, failed to gain the necessary support and never made it to a vote in the Senate. Even after state-specific efforts to rally support, Senators John McCain, Susan Collins, and Rand Paul opposed the bill as well as Senator Lisa Murkowski, although she was more willing to negotiate.

This final failure for the GOP on the healthcare front left Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price on thin ice. President Trump was even less impressed to find out that Price had racked up over $400,000 in travel bills for chartered flights. On Friday, Sept. 29th, under pressure from the Administration, Price resigned.

The next day, on Sept. 30th, Congress allowed the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to expire, leaving 9 million children and pregnant women without the low-cost health insurance. The 20-year old bipartisan program was established under the Clinton Administration and decreased the number of uninsured children from almost 14% to 4.5% in 2015.

Analysis

The failure of the Cassidy-Graham plan means that the Affordable Care Act is still the law of the land. This “repeal and replace”, like all the others that have been proposed in the last few months, would have left millions uninsured, cut Medicaid, and weakened protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Republicans will have the opportunity to pass one bill under budget reconciliation next year, which means they will need only a simple majority in the Senate instead of 60 votes. The GOP had planned on using this opportunity to pass tax reform, but some frustrated Republican Senators want to repeal and replace the ACA before their midterm elections. There is now talk of combining health care and tax reform into one budget resolution bill that can be passed under reconciliation. LEARN MORE

After Tom Price’s breach on Trump’s vow to “drain the swamp of Washington’s privilege”, all cabinet travel requests now must be approved by the White House. Possible successors for Price’s position include the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Seema Verma and the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration Scott Gottlieb. Tom Price is now another name on the growing list of Trump’s resigned of fired personnel. LEARN MORE

With all the drama surrounding healthcare in the past few days, the CHIP was pushed aside. Many states are expected to run out of funding for the program by the end of the year while others will not make it to the end of the week if Congress does not vote to restore it. LEARN MORE 

Engagement Resources

This brief was compiled by Ann Furbush. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief please contact Ann@usresistnews.org.


 

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