Louisiana House leaders want to pare spending in budget deal

Alvin Kelly
June 8, 2017

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the Senate is close to having its own version of a healthcare reform bill, reports The Washington Times. The CBO will need time to score the bill, so fast-tracking this Senate health bill makes the most sense for Senate Republicans. The Senate plan gives more money directly to higher ed and also fully funds TOPS. On the same day, the insurance giant Anthem announced it would stop offering policies in the OH marketplace under Obamacare. With that vote, any debate about what would happen to health care next shifted to the U.S. Senate. Anthem is just one of a handful of major insurers that have already announced they were pulling out of Obamacare marketplaces, and Portman warned that the flight of insurers was a problem "not just in OH but across the country". Dollars proposed by the Senate would be lessened in other agencies as well.

As the White House ramps up pressure on Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, what comes next?

It's not transparent, but it's a good way to get health care legislation passed. The Senate parliamentarian ruled that the House bill can advance under the strict rules of reconciliation, a legislative vehicle that enables Republicans to pass health care with 51 votes instead of 60 but also mandates that the legislation must save money.

Far and away the biggest division among senators is the fate of the Medicaid program for the poor and the expanded Medicaid coverage for millions of other childless adults in 31 states and the District of Columbia approved during the past four years under Obamacare.

The House bill nearly immediately reduces enhanced federal spending for Medicaid expansion in 2020. The governor has failed to convince House conservatives to increase any taxes, so now the fight is over how much - and where - to cut.

The issue in the Senate largely pits senators from states that accepted expanded Medicaid, like Alaska, West Virginia and OH, and senators from mostly red states that rejected the additional funding but now want their states to receive some added compensation out of fairness. The Senate's proposal would not allow insurers to set higher prices for people with pre-existing conditions compared to healthy people. Pushing for a more moderate bill to appease Sens.

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House Ways and Means Committee ranking member Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.) pointed out that when former Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) drafted his tax reform plan in 2014, lowering the corporate tax rate 10 percentage points required losing tax breaks that companies valued more than the lower rate.

They also discussed plans to stabilize insurance markets, according to the Associated Press. The forecast has come up short every year for almost a decade.

In its version of next year's spending plan, a near-unanimous Senate proposed to spend all available money, saying without it, agencies would be forced to make damaging cuts to critical services and college programs with no reason because the dollars are predicted to arrive in the state treasury.

Senate Republicans met for several hours this week and are reportedly optimistic they can pass their version of the American Health Care Act.

"I'm very encouraged", Cassidy said.

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