Overview

Both the House and Senate have adjourned for the August recess. The two chambers of Congress will reconvene on September 5. Before departing, the Senate confirmed dozens of Executive Branch nominees, including confirming the nomination of Robert Sumwalt to be Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Health Care Developments

On August 1, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) announced the Committee will hold a series of hearings aimed at developing bipartisan legislation to address the Affordable Care Act’s insurance markets. The first hearing will be held the week of September 4.

Alexander said the hearings will feature a range of health policy experts including state insurance commissioners, patients, and insurance industry representatives. He also encouraged President Trump to continue paying the cost-sharing reductions through September stressing without them “Americans will be hurt.” The Committee hopes to have legislation before September 27 which is when insurers must make final determinations on 2018 rates.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) announced the Committee will also hold hearings on health care in September. This will include hearings on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) which is set to expire on September 30.

Committees

On August 3, the Senate Commerce Committee approved a series of nominations, forwarding them to the full Senate for confirmation, including: Steven Bradbury to be Department of Transportation General Counsel; and Derek Kan to be Undersecretary of Transportation for Policy.