In the Health Reform Update for this week, Congress overwhelmingly passes landmark legislation to expedite the approval of breakthrough drugs for rare disorders medical cures, in a rare show of bipartisan consensus.
House Republicans set a January 3rd date to move forward on repealing key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that impact the federal budget deficit. However, Republican leaders remain undecided on whether to include the ACA’s premium and cost-sharing subsidies in the repeal bill, as well as the Medicaid expansion that Republican governors want to retain. A federal appeals court gives the Trump Administration discretion over whether to immediately terminate the cost-sharing subsidies without Congressional action.
House and Senate Republicans remain divided on how to replace the ACA, as well as the length of a transition period before the repeal takes effect.
President-elect Trump’s nominee for Health and Human Services Secretary wants to privatize Medicare and block grant Medicaid. Republican leaders insist the former is “off the table” until the ACA is repealed while the latter may move forward this year.
The new nominee for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is expected to grant states greater flexibility to expand Medicaid under the ACA, should it be retained.
Alaska seeks a federal waiver to continue its own state-funded reinsurance program that dramatically cut Marketplace premium increases. A health committee chair renews his effort to make California the second state to require greater transparency for prescription drug prices.