Prospects Dim For Market Stabilization Bill As Congress Hustles To Avoid Shutdown Deadline
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is open to bringing the bill to the Senate floor but it's unclear whether McConnell would present the bill as a stand-alone or as an amendment to the spending omnibus.
CSRs, Reinsurance May Get Another Shot In The Senate, But Chances Are Slim
The Senate is facing what could be the last chance to pass a market stabilization measure as odds of passage look dim with increasingly politicized discussion over the legislation. GOP leaders in the House scuttled the measure Monday night. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who along with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) has championed a bill that would fund cost-sharing reduction payments and a $30 billion reinsurance pool, said Tuesday that she sees Friday at midnight as the last opportunity to get the measure through. That's when Congress must pass an omnibus spending bill to avert a government shutdown. (Luthi, 3/20)
Senators Weigh Next Steps On Health Insurance Package
Talks between senators about a package meant to lower health insurance premiums next year continued Tuesday, although its inclusion in the fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill appears to be a long shot. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., told reporters on Tuesday she is still talking with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, about a health care stabilization package. The spending bill is expected to be filed before the end of the day in the House, where Republicans say a stabilization package will not be part of the bill. The package would include funding for states to set up reinsurance programs or high-risk pools to help with the expenses of high-cost patients and restore funding for cost-sharing reduction subsidies, which President Donald Trump ended. (McIntire, 3/20)
In related news —
Kaiser Health News:
Clash Over Abortion Hobbles A Health Bill. Again. Here’s How.
The Affordable Care Act very nearly failed to become law due to an intraparty dispute among Democrats over how to handle the abortion issue. Now a similar argument between Democrats and Republicans is slowing progress on a bill that could help cut soaring premiums and shore up the ACA. At issue is the extent to which the Hyde Amendment — language commonly used by Congress to prohibit most federal abortion funding — should be incorporated into any new legislation affecting the health law. (Rovner, 3/21)
Omnibus Scramble Could Jeopardize Pharma's Doughnut Hole Change
Lawmakers are considering including a ban on “pay-for-delay“ drug patent settlements in the omnibus spending bill, multiple industry lobbyists told POLITICO. The move, long opposed by both generic and branded drug industries, may be complicating brand-name drugmakers' goal of using the spending package to reduce their share of Medicare Part D coverage gap payments. (Karlin-Smith and Haberkorn, 3/20)