This week, the 115th Congress began its first session by re-electing Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as House speaker and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as House minority leader. In the Senate, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will continue to serve as majority leader and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will serve as the new minority leader.
Essential hospitals can expect the new Congress and its Republican leadership to move quickly toward repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The complete process — expected to occur through budget reconciliation — could take about two months if the GOP follows its repeal plan. Democratic lawmakers are not convinced Republicans will succeed and have not given up on their efforts to protect the law.
The 114th Congress closed with a major victory for essential hospitals: Lawmakers enacted socioeconomic status risk adjustment for the Medicare Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program as part of The 21st Century Cures Act, which President Obama signed into law on Dec. 13, 2016. The Cures package also included another win for essential hospitals: an exemption from site-neutral payment cuts for mid-build, off-campus hospital outpatient departments.
America’s Essential Hospitals will keep members updated as efforts to repeal and replace the ACA progress.