Senate Republicans say it’s up to the White House to decide whether a bipartisan ObamaCare deal can move forward.
President Trump has repeatedly expressed support for the bipartisan negotiations led by Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderChildren’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Overnight Health Care: Schumer calls for tying ObamaCare fix to children’s health insurance | Puerto Rico’s water woes worsen | Dems plead for nursing home residents’ right to sue Schumer calls for attaching ObamaCare fix to children’s health insurance MORE (R-Tenn.), but has sent mixed signals on whether he supports the agreement that the senator reached with Democrats. Without Trump’s support, it’s unlikely the bill can pass.
The White House has sent a list of changes it would like to see made to the health-care bill, but some Republicans say the White House should skip the middleman and negotiate directly with Democrats.
“Next step is really for the White House to sit down with Democrats, and discuss their asks and negotiate,” said a Senate GOP aide. “This is the legislative process. If they have suggestions, then now they need to negotiate.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGun proposal picks up GOP support Children’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Dems see Trump as potential ally on gun reform MORE (R-Ky.) likewise shifted decision-making to the White House when asked Sunday about the bipartisan bill from Alexander and Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayChildren’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Overnight Health Care: Schumer calls for tying ObamaCare fix to children’s health insurance | Puerto Rico’s water woes worsen | Dems plead for nursing home residents’ right to sue Schumer calls for attaching ObamaCare fix to children’s health insurance MORE (D-Wash.).
“If there’s a need for some kind of interim step here to stabilize the market, we need a bill the president will actually sign,” McConnell said on CNN. “And I’m not certain yet what the president is looking for here, but I will be happy to bring a bill to the floor if I know President Trump would sign it.”
Democrats, though, are pushing back on the idea of additional talks, saying they already negotiated a fair deal.
Read more here.
White House could announce national emergency for opioids Thursday
The White House will hold an event on the opioid epidemic Thursday afternoon, according to an email obtained by The Hill that suggests President Trump will make his announcement about a national emergency this week.
The email, from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, is an invitation and a call to RSVP to an event at the White House on the “nationwide opioid crisis” at 2 p.m. Thursday.
It’s not clear exactly what the event will be, but President Trump said he planned to declare the epidemic a national emergency this week. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Emergency declarations are typically used to provide short-term help, so there are not any guidelines for what one would look like for the opioid epidemic. Axios reported Monday morning that Trump will officially declare the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency this week and discuss combating the crisis on Thursday.
Read more here.
Opioid declaration could spark new fight over funds
The declaration of a national emergency for the opioid epidemic could fuel a classic Washington fight: the battle over money.
Some lawmakers and advocates say an emergency declaration on opioids will do little without significant federal funding to combat the staggering overdose death rates from prescription painkillers and heroin.
When asked how much money is needed, one advocate pointed to the fact that tens of thousands of people are dying every year.
“So the math is almost incalculable,” said Andrew Kessler, founder of Slingshot Solutions, a consulting firm specializing in behavioral health policy.
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1.1M fewer people could sign up for ObamaCare after Trump funding cuts: analysis
The Trump administration’s funding cuts to ObamaCare’s advertising budget could result in at least 1.1 million fewer people signing up for coverage this year, according to an analysis released Monday.
“The threat to Open Enrollment this year is very real,” wrote Josh Peck, the author of the analysis, who served as healthcare.gov’s chief marketing officer during the Obama administration.
“People will be hurt by the administration’s actions.”
Peck’s analysis is based on previous studies completed by the Obama administration that showed how many enrollments were generated per dollar spent on advertising like television, digital ads, emails and phone calls.
Because the Trump administration cut ObamaCare’s advertising budget by 90 percent, Peck used the data to estimate how many fewer people could enroll in coverage this year.
While the Obama administration spent $100 million on advertising last year, the Trump administration plans to spend only $10 million, arguing that people already know about the law.
Read more here.
Dem pushes back on children’s health care proposal
Disagreements over how to pay for an extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) could result in a partisan bill reaching the House floor as soon as this week, a top House Democrat said Monday.
Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), the ranking member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said Republicans are insisting that the extension is paid for by cutting other health programs, adding that the bill could get a floor vote in the House on Thursday.
Representatives for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) did not respond to a request to confirm the schedule.
The proposed legislation would extend funding for CHIP for five years while phasing out ObamaCare’s funding boost to the program. It would also extend funding for community health centers for two years, and provide $1 billion to help with Puerto Rico’s looming Medicaid crisis.
House Democrats have objected to how the bill would be paid for, saying that the bill would cut ObamaCare’s public health prevention fund and raise Medicare rates for wealthy seniors. It would also cut the grace period for ObamaCare enrollees who fail to make premium payments.
Read more here.
Second red state withdraws ObamaCare waiver aimed at shoring up market
Iowa withdrew a waiver request to the federal government Monday that was aimed at helping the state’s insurance market, the second Republican-governed state to do so.
Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) said in a joint statement with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma that ObamaCare’s rules are too restrictive for the request to work.
The proposal would have expanded ObamaCare subsidies to higher-income earners and helped insurers who cover patients with high medical costs.
“Iowa pursued state flexibility through the Stopgap Measure, but ultimately, Obamacare is an inflexible law that Congress must repeal and replace,” Reynolds and Verma said.
Iowa officials said the plan would have stabilized the state’s individual insurance market, where only one insurer is set to sell plans next year.
That insurer, Medica, plans to increase premiums by an average of more than 57 percent.
Read more here.
Join us Tuesday, October 24, for America’s Opioid Epidemic: Aging & Addiction, featuring Reps. Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkDem announces new cyberstalking bill at SXSW Bill would offer protections for domestic violence victims’ pets Boehner swears in Clark MORE (D-Mass.) and Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.). Topics include the opioid epidemic’s impact on older Americans, initiatives to curb opioid abuse, and alternative solutions to pain management. RSVP Here
What we’re reading
Many breast cancer patients receive more radiation than needed (KHN)
Health advocates gear up for open enrollment (The Wall Street Journal)
From opioids to HIV — a public health threat in Trump country (Politico)
State by state
Cuomo OKs cancer benefits for volunteer firefighters (recordonline.com)
California lawmakers kick off health care hearings (The Mercury News)
Wisconsin AG doubts state will join health care lawsuit (Associated Press)