TGIF

Here’s a link to the Week in Congress’s one page report about what happened on Capitol Hill this week.  The Wall Street Journal reports that after two lengthy mark up sessions the House Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce Committees cleared the American Health Care Act for Budget Committee consideration next Wednesday. We should have a Congressional Budget Office score before then. The House leadership’s objective is to bring the bill to the House floor for a vote during the week of March 19. The bill would then head to the Senate for consideration under the reconciliation act rules which allow for Senate passage with 51 votes.  It’s not clear at this point what will happen in the Senate.

The Journal further reports that the House leadership will introduce a broader ACA replacement bill this month which the Senate would consider under regular order. Regular order allows for a filibuster which can be broken with sixty votes. The FEHBlog has read that there are other approaches which would allow for the Senate to get past a filibuster by the passage of time. Of course there is a Congressional Research Service report which discusses the two speech limitation which is an alternative to the sixty vote cloture rule.

Finally according to the Journal report, there are administrative “actions that the Trump administration can take on its own [under the terms of the ACA] . The administration has already issued rules intended to shore up the individual insurance market until the GOP vision of a new health system is enacted. Other changes may include giving states more flexibility in running Medicaid programs and allowing insurers to sell policies without maternity care or other benefits now required under law.”  The FEHBlog views this as loosening the choke chain that the ACA placed on insurers. He looks forward to this stage because it could simplify life for FEHB carriers.

The FEHBlog ran across this farewell address from the CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation  and because it’s upbeat here’s the link. Have a good weekend.

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