Welcome back everybody. In general, this week insurers will submit their applications for participating in the Marketplace for 2018. After this we will begin to find out where the insurance deserts are and how much rates will increase in 2018. This may provide fodder for the Administration as it continues the drum beat over the Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal, but all eyes are on the Senate.
The Senate is still working towards a goal of having a floor vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) this work period. With two weeks left, and Senate Republicans continuing to debate key policies, a vote before July 4th does not appear likely. Still, Senate Republicans and staff are engaged in substantive policy discussions, even if the bill remains behind closed doors.
One wedge dividing Senate Republicans is Medicaid. Given the variety in state programs nationwide, a per-capita cap model will impact states differently. Rodney and Katie wrote an article in Forbes in which they describe this dilemma as "state envy." Under the AHCA's per capita cap some states will be financially better off than others. This is due to locking the per capita cap base year in at 2016 rates indefinitely. States that have worked to control costs within their Medicaid program will have lower payments than higher spending Medicaid states. With some Republicans beginning to signal for a slower process for health care reform, they might be getting that envious feeling.
THIS WEEK IN THE HOUSE
On Friday (6/23), the House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee will host a hearing titled, "Examining the Extension of the Safety Net Health Programs." Click here for more information.
THIS WEEK IN THE SENATE
On Tuesday (6/20), the Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on the Administration's FY2018 budget request for the FDA. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb will be testifying. Click here for more information.
On Thursday (6/22), the Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on the Administrations FY2018 budget request for the National Institute's of Health. NIH Director Francis Collins will be testifying. Click here for more information.
DRUG PRICING DISCUSSIONS
Last Friday, June 16th, the White House held a meeting to discuss the upcoming executive order on drug pricing. Read outs from the meeting suggest that the Administration is struggling to reach consensus on the issue of drug pricing. All health care committees, the Senate Health Education Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, and the House Energy & Commerce Committee, are also exploring ways to lower drug prices. In short, this issue is not going away anytime soon.