So the Senate’s efforts to Repeal and Replace, Repeal and Delay, just Repeal, and just get to conference with the House on a bill with the word ACA in it came to a somewhat surprising and inglorious end in the wee hours of Friday morning.

Many of us immersed in health policy took a well-deserved deep breath and hoped for a small break in the action.  But alas, it’s not to be:

  • The White House, a few Republican Senators and a small group of Governors have convened this week to revive their legislative efforts to repeal and replace. (Politico)
  • On Saturday, the President threatened to blow up the insurance exchange market by refusing to continue funding the Affordable Care Act’s cost-sharing reduction (CSRs) payments. (Washington Examiner)
  • Meanwhile, HHS Secretary Price is openly and actively hostile to his duty overseeing the Affordable Care Act, even going as far as producing P.R. materials attacking a law his agency is supposed to be implementing, and reportedly using money set aside to promote that program. (Axios)
  • The Senate Leadership just wants to move on. (Washington Post)
    • Senate HELP Committee Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said market stabilization was his main concern and promised hearings on stabilization measures, although no hearings appear to be scheduled.
    • A new bipartisan House Problem Solvers caucus formally unveiled a proposal that aims to immediately stabilize the insurance market by funding the cost-sharing reductions, creating a stability fund, axing the device tax, weakening the employer mandate, redefining “workweek,” giving states more flexibility and allowing insurance to be sold across state lines. (Inside Health Policy, subscription required)

Meanwhile the list of non-ACA health issues facing deadlines this year is not short:

  • Children’s Health Care Program (CHIP) and Community Health Centers
  • Tax Extenders
  • FDA User Fees

So, take a quick breath and buckle up.

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Charla Penn is a Principal at Winning Strategies Washington, a DC-based government relations firm. Charla spent several years on Capitol Hill working for members of the Ways & Means Committee with a focus on health care.

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