The House nearly completed debate last week on the American Health Care Act — legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — before abruptly ending consideration of the bill and choosing to forgo a vote.
In pulling the bill from the floor, House Republican leaders cited inadequate support within the Republican Conference. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) contacted the White House during the debate to tell President Trump the bill would not have enough votes to pass and to recommend pulling the bill; the president agreed.
While it is unclear whether legislation to repeal and replace the ACA will resurface, Ryan has signaled his intention to pursue health care reform separately from other issues on the Republican agenda. For now, it appears House leaders plan to move on to other legislative issues beyond health care. It is unclear how the Senate will proceed now, given the House action.
With repeal of the ACA on pause, America’s Essential Hospitals will resume its focus on other hospital-related issues, including Medicaid and Medicare disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payment cuts. Medicaid DSH cuts, which have been successfully delayed since enactment of the ACA, are scheduled to begin in October. The association will again seek to ensure these cuts do not go into effect.
In committee business, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce continues consideration of the Food and Drug Administration user fee program, with a hearing focused on medical devices.