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Democrats raise concerns during Price hearing
President Donald Trump’s nominee for Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) believes Congress will oversee the creation of a new health system if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is repealed. Louise Randofsky and Stephanie Armour of The Wall Street Journal report Price did not elaborate on his specific vision for American health care during confirmation hearings before the Senate Finance Committee. Instead, he indicated his job would be implementing whatever plan Congress drafted and signaled he supports most of the Republican proposals for replacing the ACA (subscriber’s content).
During the hearing, Price suggested he would continue to enforce the ACA until a replacement is implemented. Caitlin Owens at Axios reports Price said he would “carry out the law of the land.”
Price also would not guarantee his implementation would not cause Americans to lose coverage as President Trump has promised, according to Rachan Pradhan and Paul Demko of Politico.
AHIP recommends individual mandate alternative
America’s Health Insurance Plans is suggesting a way to provide continuous coverage in the absence of an individual mandate. The trade group sent a letter the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee yesterday proposing that all consumers have the opportunity to sign up for coverage during 2018 open enrollment and that individuals would be required to remain insured for the year. Those who do not comply would face higher premiums or have to wait six months to enroll again. David Nather at Axios reports.
Possible effects of Medicaid block grants
Medicaid block grants may be a big component of a GOP plan to replace the ACA. Shefali Luthra at Kaiser Health News outlines how block grants work and possible effects on health coverage.
House committees meet to talk ACA replacement
Several congressional committees are scheduling hearings and writing legislation to prepare for repeal and replacement of the ACA. The House Energy and Commerce Committee is set to hold hearings next week to discuss lowering insurance costs and reforming Medicaid. Committee leaders also plan to introduce legislation that includes reforms on those policy topics. Mike DeBonis at The Washington Post has the story.
Executive order may not have large impact on health law
It is not yet clear how much of its authority the Trump administration will use to unravel the ACA. While President Trump’s executive order instructed officials to “minimize the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens” of the ACA, it did not grant any new powers to repeal the health law. Julie Rovner at Kaiser Health News shares that the administration can undermine how the law works, but will need Congress to pass a replacement.