Congressional committees this week are discussing health care issues as a prelude to public consideration of repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
GOP leaders are working to develop consensus on what the repeal and replace process will look like. To date, no agreements have been reached and it appears that Republicans in both chambers are far from making final decisions. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the current House speaker, has recommended the end of the year as the deadline for completion. Nevertheless, competing proposals and ongoing confusion continue to keep Washington insiders scratching their heads and wondering what’s next.
In committee news, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce holds two Medicaid hearings this week: a Tuesday hearing will focus on Medicaid oversight and a Wednesday hearing by the Subcommittee on Health will review three Medicaid-related bills. On Thursday, the Health Subcommittee will shift its focus to the private insurance market with a hearing on four bills, including one related to coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions.
In the Senate, the Committee on Finance on Wednesday voted to approve Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) as Department of Health and Human Services secretary. The move comes after the vote was delayed by Senate Democrats boycotting the hearing. Committee chair Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) ultimately suspended the committee rules to allow a vote with no Democrats present. Meanwhile, the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions holds a hearing Wednesday on the individual health insurance market.