The Senate Committee on Finance this week will begin marking up its version of House tax reform legislation, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. While similar to the House bill, the Finance Committee’s “chairman’s mark” does not include many House provisions of particular concern to essential hospitals.

The House Committee on Ways and Means has marked up the House bill, which is expected to go before the House Rules Committee on Wednesday. The House likely will hold a floor vote on the bill this week.

America’s Essential Hospitals is monitoring the tax reform measures in both chambers and released an Action Update for members that compares the provisions in each that would affect essential hospitals. The association also sent a letter to House leadership expressing concerns with these provisions.

In other legislative activity, Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) are drafting a bill that would change or eliminate waiver restrictions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The released discussion draft would allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to approve state plans as long as they promote affordability, consumer choice, and market-based coverage. The draft proposes more substantial changes to the waiver process than those envisioned in the ACA stabilization package from Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA), which mostly addressed administrative issues to ease the waiver application process for states.

Committee Activity

The Senate Committee on Finance will hold a hearing on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on Nov. 13.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions will hear the Surgeon General’s perspective on healthy communities at a Nov. 15 hearing.