Following the Trail of the Affordable Care Act Debate

By Zach Cahill and David White

On Friday, February 10, Congressman Tom Price (R-GA) was confirmed by the US Senate by a vote of 52 to 47 as Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Few people will be more instrumental in shaping the Trump administration’s healthcare policies than Secretary Price. He will also play a key role in the administration’s dealings with Congress as it repeals, replaces, and/or repairs the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

Let’s take a look at the key players and what you should know about what they are saying – or have said before.

As chair of the House Budget Committee, Secretary Price authored the Empowering Patients First Act, the first ACA repeal legislation to reach President Barak Obama’s desk. That bill served as the foundation for the House GOP’s Better Way Healthcare Agenda and provides the clearest window into Price’s thinking about healthcare reform. He outlined a repeal plan that builds a healthcare system reliant on health savings accounts, high risk pools, refundable tax credits, insurance sales across state lines, and continuous coverage provisions. Additionally, the bill reverses Medicaid expansion and Medicare benefit enhancements provided in the ACA. 

With Secretary Price now at the helm of HHS, and Congress set to work on ACA reform, ASN will provide weekly, sometimes biweekly updates to keep you informed. 

If you have specific questions or concerns, please feel free to send them to info@kidneynews.org

President Trump has also committed to repealing the Affordable Care Act. Although President Trump originally spoke of repealing ACA very soon after he took office, in an interview on February 5, he said that replacement may take until 2018.

So, what are they saying on Capitol Hill?

In the Senate where two key players, Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), chair of the Senate Finance Committee, have indicated their openness to “repairing” current law before addressing replacement measures.

Reflecting this new emphasis on “repair,” the Administration is reviewing a proposed rule change from HHS intended to provide a short-term fix to individual insurance markets, and is considering an executive action to provide insurers more stability as they consider 2018 plan offerings.

In the House, Greg Walden (R-OR) is chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee; this committee  will do much of the heavy lifting on healthcare reform. Rep. Walden recently said to reporters “There are things we can build on and repair, there are things we can completely repeal.”

However, when asked  about the new repair language in a February 5 interview, Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-WS), said that "If you're going to repair the American health care system and fix its problems, you have to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something better: patient-centered health care, and that is how you repair this health care system."

The lack of unanimity among Republicans over a comprehensive replacement plan creates uncertainty for patients, professionals, insurers and hospitals, As we continue to monitor this rapidly changing landscape, we will keep you informed of all significant developments, with special emphasis on how these changes will impact nephrologists and the patients they care for.

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On Friday, February 10, Congressman Tom Price (R-GA) was confirmed by the US Senate by a vote of 52 to 47 as Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Few people will be more instrumental in shaping the Trump administration’s healthcare policies than Secretary Price. He will also play a key role in the administration’s dealings with Congress as it repeals, replaces, and/or repairs the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

Let’s take a look at the key players and what you should know about what they are saying – or have said before.

As chair of the House Budget Committee, Secretary Price authored the Empowering Patients First Act, the first ACA repeal legislation to reach President Barak Obama’s desk. That bill served as the foundation for the House GOP’s Better Way Healthcare Agenda and provides the clearest window into Price’s thinking about healthcare reform. He outlined a repeal plan that builds a healthcare system reliant on health savings accounts, high risk pools, refundable tax credits, insurance sales across state lines, and continuous coverage provisions. Additionally, the bill reverses Medicaid expansion and Medicare benefit enhancements provided in the ACA. 

With Secretary Price now at the helm of HHS, and Congress set to work on ACA reform, ASN will provide weekly, sometimes biweekly updates to keep you informed. 

If you have specific questions or concerns, please feel free to send them to info@kidneynews.org

President Trump has also committed to repealing the Affordable Care Act. Although President Trump originally spoke of repealing ACA very soon after he took office, in an interview on February 5, he said that replacement may take until 2018.

So, what are they saying on Capitol Hill?

In the Senate where two key players, Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), chair of the Senate Finance Committee, have indicated their openness to “repairing” current law before addressing replacement measures.

Reflecting this new emphasis on “repair,” the Administration is reviewing a proposed rule change from HHS intended to provide a short-term fix to individual insurance markets, and is considering an executive action to provide insurers more stability as they consider 2018 plan offerings.

In the House, Greg Walden (R-OR) is chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee; this committee  will do much of the heavy lifting on healthcare reform. Rep. Walden recently said to reporters “There are things we can build on and repair, there are things we can completely repeal.”

However, when asked  about the new repair language in a February 5 interview, Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-WS), said that "If you're going to repair the American health care system and fix its problems, you have to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something better: patient-centered health care, and that is how you repair this health care system."

The lack of unanimity among Republicans over a comprehensive replacement plan creates uncertainty for patients, professionals, insurers and hospitals, As we continue to monitor this rapidly changing landscape, we will keep you informed of all significant developments, with special emphasis on how these changes will impact nephrologists and the patients they care for.