Health Care Developments
FAA Reauthorization: As indicated in prior Member Alerts, AAMS opposes two provisions of the “21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act” (H.R. 2997)
- ATC Privatization: While there are numerous provisions in the House bill that AAMS supports, such as provisions to expedite the equipment installation and certification process, AAMS joins multiple general aviation organizations, including HAI, GAMA, NBAA, AOPA, and NATA in opposing the privatization of the ATC.
- Air Medical Billing Regulations: AAMS and HAI also oppose Section 512 of the bill, which would require the separation of air medical service billing into aviation and “non-aviation” related services. The Provision: (1) Mandates a far-reaching, open-ended, burdensome, and duplicative new regulatory regime; (2) Would pierce the Airline Deregulation Act’s (ADA) preemption provision, inhibiting the delivery of life saving emergency transportation services across state lines; (3) Does not have the benefit of the report and findings of the pending AAMS-supported Government Accountability Office (GAO) study on air medical cost, billing, and reimbursement issues; and (4) Introduces the concept of separating the charges of an air carrier into what could and could not be regulated by states.
The House has delayed consideration of the FAA reauthorization bill, and is likely to depart for the month-long August recess this Friday without taking action on the legislation. The House this week is expected to debate and vote on the “Make America Secure Appropriations Act, 2018” (H.R. 3219) and a resolution of disapproval to repeal “a rule submitted by Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection relating to ‘Arbitration Agreements’” (H.J.Res. 111). Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) intends for the Senate to hold an initial procedural vote on the “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017” (H.R. 1628).
Health Care Developments
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) plans to hold a vote this week on legislation to repeal or repeal-and-replace the “Affordable Care Act”. The Senate will first take a procedural vote on the motion to proceed in order to move to debate and amendment. Senate Republicans need at least 50 votes (plus the Vice President) to move forward.
On July 18, McConnell announced the Senate “will have the vote on the motion to proceed to the Obamacare repeal bill early next week.” The repeal only bill would be the same bill passed by the Senate in 2015 and vetoed by then-President Obama. Soon after this announcement Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Susan Collins (R-ME) stated they would vote against a repeal-only bill. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) also released a score for the repeal-only bill projecting that, by 2026, 32 million more Americans would be uninsured and premiums would double compared to current law.
After meeting with President Trump, Senate Republicans renewed negotiations on a repeal-and-replace effort. Moderate Senators met with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma to discuss a new Medicaid proposal which would give states more flexibility to use Medicaid funding to cover those outside the program who face high health care costs. The Senate Republican leadership is also said to be considering adding $200 billion in assistance to states that expanded Medicaid.
On July 20, Senate Republicans released an updated draft of the repeal-and-replace amendment to the House-passed “American Health Care Act”. An updated CBO score found 22 million more people would be uninsured in 2026 compared to current law. It also found premiums would be about 25 percent lower compared to current law by 2026; however, these plans would have a lower actuarial value and therefore pay for a smaller share of covered benefits. This score did not include the amendment proposed by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) which would allow insurers to sell plans which did not comply with the ACA’s insurance regulations so long as the insurer sold a plan on the exchanges that did meet the regulations. The most recent draft and section-by-section summary are available here.