Congressional Corner

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 June 8, 2017

Senate Continues Work on ACA Repeal

On June 7, the Senate formally received the House-passed American Health Care Act. The House version, which, according to the Senate parliamentarian, complies with budgetary reconciliation rules, enables the Senate to pass the bill with a simple majority. According to media reports, it appears the Senate may change some of the provisions included in the House-passed American Health Care Act. The text of the Senate version of the bill has not yet been released. However, the timetable is tight if the Senate wishes to pass the bill before August recess.

As a reminder, the House version of the bill includes a complete repeal of the Prevention and Public Health Fund. ASTHO is deeply concerned about the uncertainty of prevention and public health activities supported by the Affordable Care Act and provisions which may be repealed—and not replaced—in the American Health Care Act. The fund will be fully eliminated in FY19 if the House version of the bill passes the Senate. ASTHO continues to defend the Prevention and Public Health Fund in coalition with other public health organizations.

House Hearings

This week, the House held two important healthcare hearings. On June 8, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing entitled, “Examining the Role of the Department of Health and Human Services in Health Care Cybersecurity.” Also on June 8, the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on the “Department of Health and Human Services' FY2018 Budget Request.” HHS Secretary Tom Price is scheduled as a witness. ASTHO staff are monitoring and attending both hearings and will provide more information in next week’s Public Health Weekly.

National Institutes of Health Director Stays On

On June 6, President Trump announced that Francis Collins, a holdover from the Obama administration, will remain as director of the National Institutes of Health. Francis will continue to serve at the pleasure of the president, as he did during the previous administration.