Congressional Corner

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April 20, 2017

Federal Budget Watch
Although Congress is on recess, policymakers are continuing to work toward passing a bill to fund the government beyond April 28. However, there are some unknowns in how this will play out, such as funding for the cost-sharing reductions under ACA and President Trump’s proposed border wall. ASTHO will continue to monitor the situation.

ACA Repeal
Work on a bill to repeal ACA continues, despite the setback weeks ago. Republicans aim to have a draft ready for the House of Representatives to vote on shortly after lawmakers return to the Capitol next week. However, negotiations and passage could prove complicated, considering that work is still needed to fund the government past April 28.

Insurance Companies Meet with CMS

Earlier this week, leaders from health insurance companies met with CMS administrator, Seema Verma, to discuss the potential end of funding for cost-sharing reductions for health insurance plans purchased through the marketplace. These payments are made to insurance companies to help reduce out-of-pocket costs for low-income Americans. House Republicans challenged the legality of these payments in court and won. The Obama administration appealed the decision and the case remains in court. Meanwhile, the payments continue. However, there is concern that President Trump might use the lawsuit as leverage to bring Democrats to the table to negotiate on healthcare reform. Insurance companies worry about disruption to the insurance market if these payments disappear. Congress may also play a role in appropriating funds. ASTHO will continue to monitor any developments.