Senate leaders on Tuesday afternoon announced they would not hold a vote on the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson (GCHJ) proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and impose per-capita caps on Medicaid.

Under budget reconciliation rules, the Senate faces a Sept. 30 deadline to the pass the measure, proposed last week by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Dean Heller (R-NV), and Ron Johnson (R-WI). Tuesday’s decision effectively ends Congress’ current push to repeal and replace the ACA, despite statements from Graham and Cassidy indicating they will continue to seek a repeal of the law. Moving forward, congressional Republicans could:

  • include reconciliation instructions in the fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget resolution to allow for both tax reform and health reform, which would not necessarily bind Congress to passing health reform next year; or
  • use reconciliation instructions in the FY 2018 budget resolution for tax reform only, and craft a FY 2019 budget resolution with health reform reconciliation instructions.

America’s Essential Hospitals released a statement thanking members for quickly and effectively speaking out against the damaging GCHJ bill.

 

Medicaid DSH Cuts

Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of leaders in the House have been circulating a letter to House leadership regarding the impending Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) cuts scheduled to start Oct. 1.

Reps. John Culberson (R-TX), Eliot Engel (D-NY), and Steve Palazzo (R-MS) are leading the letter, which asks for the swift delay of Medicaid DSH cuts before the end of the month. So far, nearly 200 House members have signed the letter. There still is time to ask your House delegation to sign this letter — the deadline has been extended to Wednesday, Sept. 27.

Committee Activity

On Monday, the Senate Committee on Finance held a hearing on the GCHJ bill.

Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions on Oct. 5 is scheduled to hold a hearing on the federal response to the opioid crisis.