Last week, the Senate held an abbreviated session, and approved the nomination of Noel J. Francisco to be Solicitor General of the United States. The House was in recess for the week.

This week the House is planning to vote on an FAA extension bill after failing to pass a six-month extension under an expedited process on Monday. The House is also scheduled to vote on the “Increasing Opportunity and Success for Children and Parents through Evidence-Based Home Visiting Act” (H.R. 2824) and the “Control Unlawful Fugitive Felons Act of 2017” (H.R. 2792).

Health Care
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced his intent to hold a vote this week on the Graham-Cassidy amendment, the Republicans’ latest attempt to repeal and replace the ACA. However with Republican Senators announcing their intent to vote against the bill it is unlikely to pass.

Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) stated last week that he opposes the measure because it does not go far enough to repeal the ACA. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) announced on Friday that he would vote against the Graham-Cassidy proposal. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) declared on Monday that she would vote “no” on the legislation.

The proposal would repeal the individual and employer mandates and the medical device tax. It would maintain the ACA’s protections for pre-existing conditions, and seeks to eliminate the inequality in federal funding states receive under the ACA, bringing all states to funding parity by 2026. The proposal also equalizes treatment between Medicaid expansion and non-expansion states through an equitable block grant distribution. The aim is to provide states with resources and flexibility to allow for innovation that lowers premiums and expands coverage.

The Senate parliamentarian has ruled that Republicans have until September 30 to pass health care legislation utilizing the “reconciliation” process, which would allow the bill to be passed with just 50 votes in the Senate.

FAA Reauthorization
On Monday, the House of Representatives failed to pass the “Disaster Tax Relief and Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2017” (H.R. 3823) by a 245-171 vote. The House considered the proposal under an expedited process known as “Suspension of the Rules”, which required a two-thirds majority to pass the bill. The legislation includes a six-month extension (through March 31, 2018) of the authorization for the Federal Aviation Administration and federal aviation programs, as well as: an extension of some health measures; flood insurance provisions; and targeted tax relief for individuals affected by the recent hurricanes.

After failing to pass the bill on Monday, the House will likely vote later this week on an FAA extension bill under the normal process that requires a simple majority for passage. The Senate will also be required to pass the legislation before the current FAA authorization extension expires on September 30.

Member Reminder
On July 25, Representatives Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Raul Ruiz (D-CA), and Pete Sessions (R-TX) introduced the “Ensuring Access to Air Ambulance Services Act of 2017” (H.R. 3378). Representatives Tom Cole (R-OK) and Jason Smith (R-MO) have also cosponsored the bill.

This legislation would reform the Medicare fee schedule for air ambulance services, starting with temporary, noncumulative payment increases to providers (12% in 2018, 20% in 2019, and 20% in 2020), followed by: rebasing of air medical reimbursements in 2021; and implementation of a Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Program beginning in 2024. The bill would also establish cost and quality reporting requirements.

AAMS fully supports this legislation, and encourages members to contact their Members of Congress to ask them to cosponsor H.R. 3378. The House of Representatives provides a tool for identifying your Member of Congress by zip code.

More Information on H.R. 3378: