The Senate’s rejection last week of three proposals to repeal and partially replace the Affordable Care Act has ended the health care debate for now. But that’s not the end of the health care story. The Senate HELP Committee — on which Sen. Murray is the senior Democrat — announced hearings in early September on proposals to stabilize the insurance market. They want to produce a bill by mid-September.
Two Republican Senators — Lindsay Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana — are trying to build momentum for a proposal that would pool the federal money spent on Medicaid expansion, premium subsidies and subsidies for low-income people, and distribute it as block grants to states to use for health care.
In the House, a bipartisan group of 40 representatives this week released a plan that includes proposals for market stabilization. Also, the White House continues to pressure Congress to act on repeal and replace.
The Senate is in session until August 12, but no votes on health care are expected. The House is on recess until Labor Day. Upon its return, it faces a full slate of legislative challenges, including funding for CHIP, the debt ceiling and funding for the government, beginning October 1. All this could crowd out health care for a while longer. We’ll have WSHA talking points to use during the August recess. (John Flink, WSHA Federal Lobbyist)