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On the Hill: Senate Prepares Fall Health Care Agenda

When the Senate returns from its August recess, lawmakers will kick off their health care agenda for the rest of the fiscal year.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions will hold hearings in the first week of September on plans to stabilize the individual insurance market. Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) — chair and ranking member of the committee, respectively — announced they are crafting bipartisan legislation to shore up the individual market. Alexander urged the president to continue the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) cost sharing reduction payments through September, giving Congress time to negotiate a stabilization plan.

Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on Finance will begin negotiations the first week of September over the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which is set to expire at the end of September. Reauthorization fell to the wayside as ACA repeal efforts dominated the legislative agenda this summer; lack of legislative progress on CHIP reauthorization and political fallout over the failure of ACA repeal efforts could complicate the process.

America’s Essential Hospitals is seeking to attach a delay in scheduled Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payment cuts to the CHIP bill, which likely will serve as a legislative vehicle for other health care funding priorities.

Before the recess, the Senate passed the Food and Drug Administration Reauthorization Act of 2017, which reauthorizes the user fees from prescription drug and medical device industries, accounting for $8 billion to $9 billion over five years.


About the Author

Erin Delaney is a former legislative affairs associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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