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Health Care Weekly Preview from ML Strategies – Week of October 2, 2017

With the FY2017 reconciliation instructions behind us, we look ahead to what is left in store for health care between now and the end of the calendar year. While Secretary Price’s departure was expected, what he leaves behind at the agency is unclear. Price brought many of his own people with him and was reportedly focused on rolling back ‘bureaucratic impediments’ that providers face in treating patients. His replacement will influence how the agency operates during a significant juncture in the health care debate. The ACA is still the law of the land, and MACRA still needs to be implemented. Price’s departure will also lead to another round of confirmation hearings, which are sure to be focused on the implementation of the ACA. 

Last week, Congress missed the deadline on reauthorization of several key health care programs, including CHIP, MIECHV, delaying DSH payments, SNPs, and community health center payments. Negotiations to extend these programs will likely dominate health policy conversations this week, along with the revitalized market stabilization negotiations going on in the Senate HELP Committee. The Senate also passed the

CHRONIC Care Act late last week, which could become a critical bipartisan vehicle this fall should the House take up passage.

We should get our first look at the emerging deal out of the Senate HELP Committee this week. The deal is expected to center around three pillars: (1) funding cost-sharing subsidies, (2) introducing some form of a lowcost ‘copper’ plan, and (3) allowing state flexibility via ACA Section 1332 waivers. Will this package offer enough of a win for Republicans to want to get on board? That is the question going forward on AlexanderMurray.  

THIS WEEK IN THE HOUSE  

On Tuesday (10/3), the Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee will hold a hearing titled, “Examining Patient Access to Investigational Drugs.” The hearing will feature testimony from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. 

Programming Note: Energy & Commerce Committee will mark up bill for CHIP and community health centers this week. 

THIS WEEK IN THE SENATE 

On Wednesday (10/4), the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing titled, “Open Executive Session to Consider Keep Kids Insurance Dependable and Secure Act of 2017.” Read CHIP. You can watch the hearing here. 

On Thursday (10/5), the Senate HELP Committee will hold a hearing titled, “The Federal Response to the Opioid Crisis.” You can watch the hearing here. 

ABOUT THAT MINIBUS

Congress will face mounting pressure to extend various health care programs vital to children, mothers, safetynet hospitals, and other vulnerable populations after they were allowed to expire last week. The frustrating uncertainty caused by funding lapses makes it challenging to plan into the future.  We will continue tracking the various riders on the minibus and will keep you in the loop of any developments.

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