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ML Strategies Health Care Preview - Week of July 15,2019

This week, the House is scheduled to vote on a repeal of the Cadillac tax, which is a forty percent tax on high-cost health plans. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that repealing the tax would cost an estimated $193 billion over the next ten years. That said, the bill has broad bipartisan support in both chambers and moving it through the House potentially ratchets up some pressure on the Senate to consider it. While the focus may shift to the Senate, it is not a sure thing that the legislation is considered, even if the bill has 42 cosponsors. When the House passed the medical device tax repeal in 2018, another bill with bipartisan support, the Senate never took up the legislation.

We also wait for signals of what comes next following the Administration’s decision last week to withdraw the proposed rebate rule. CBO estimated that implementing the proposed rule would have increased federal spending by about $177 billion over the next decade. There has been a lot of noise in the drug pricing space from the Administration, which has signaled that additional executive action is likely, and that is only expected to increase as Congress ramps up its push to address lowering drug costs this summer.

ACA CASE HEARD BEFORE FIFTH CIRCUIT

Last Tuesday, oral arguments were heard before the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on whether to uphold a lower court ruling striking down the Affordable Care Act. The central question in the case is whether the requirement that people have health insurance, known as the individual mandate, is constitutional. In other words, if the individual mandate is unconstitutional, would that that render the entire law unconstitutional? The three-judge panel, comprised of two Republican-appointed and one Democratic-appointed judge, are not expected to rule on the case for several months and the ruling could take many forms. In one scenario, the Court could decide that eliminating the mandate means only certain aspects of the law are unconstitutional. Alternatively, the Court could affirm a lower court ruling striking down the Affordable Care Act. Future action before the Supreme Court seems increasingly likely.

The uncertainty by this situation will only grow as we head into the 2020 election cycle. It is a potentially galvanizing moment for Democrats who warded off efforts to repeal the law in 2017 and reclaimed the House majority in the 2018 elections. For Republicans, it sets up another opportunity to craft a replacement proposal should aspects of the law be deemed unconstitutional, which has proved challenging and could create an unwanted crisis just months before the 2020 election.

©1994-2022 Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume IX, Number 196
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About this Author

Alexander Hecht, Vice President of Government Relations, Mintz Levin law Firm
ML Strategies - Executive Vice President & Director of Operations

Alex is Executive Vice President & Director of Operations, ML Strategies, Washington, DC. He is an attorney with more than 10 years of senior-level experience in Congress and trade associations.

Alex assists clients with their legislative and regulatory needs on a wide range of issues, including health care, telecommunications, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), technology, energy, and federal procurement. Prior to joining ML Strategies, Alex served for over six years as chief counsel for Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME) on the US Senate Committee on Small Business...

202-434-7333
Frank Guinta ML Strategies VP
Senior Vice President of ML Strategies/US

Frank is based in our Washington, DC office and is Senior Vice President of ML Strategies.

Prior to joining the firm, Frank represented New Hampshire’s 1st congressional district in the US House of Representatives. He served for two nonconsecutive terms, from 2011 to 2013 and from 2015 to 2017. During his time in Congress, Frank served on several House committees. During his most recent term, he was a member of the Committee on Financial Services and served on its Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit as well as its Monetary Policy and Trade sub-committees. Previously he served...

202.434.7401
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