The House is in recess this week, and the Senate has a short work week, being bookended by the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday Monday and the presidential inauguration Friday.
Last week, both the House and Senate passed the fiscal year 2017 budget resolution, which initiates the process to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The resolution instructs congressional health care committees to develop legislation to repeal portions of the ACA by Jan. 27. This deadline is nonbinding and it continues to look unlikely that GOP lawmakers will complete the task soon, given the mixed messages circulating between the incoming Trump administration and congressional Republicans.
Details about what repeal bills might look like are scarce. Open questions on the content of the bills include whether to repeal all of the taxes imposed under the ACA; whether to repeal all of the hospital cuts in the ACA; whether to maintain or repeal enhanced federal funding of the Medicaid expansion; and what, if any, replacement provisions might be included.
In committee business Jan. 18, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions holds the first confirmation hearing for Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), who has been nominated for health and human services (HHS) secretary. The Senate Finance Committee has scheduled Price’s hearing for Jan. 24.
Price has been subject to recent scrutiny of his connections with pharmaceutical and medical device companies, raising ethical questions about his nomination to the HHS post.