Congress can and should still move forward with important health care reforms to ease the burden on millions of American businesses and workers. The National Restaurant Association and the one million foodservice locations they represent have urged elected officials to make a few basic changes to relieve the burdens on businesses that are stifling growth and impacting their ability to hire new employees. Regardless of the Republican bill’s passage, legislative and regulatory constraints imposed by the ACA continue to negatively impact restaurants.
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The CBO has refused to adjust its computations to the ever-more-apparent failings of the Affordable Care Act. When the CBO says that 23 million fewer people will have insurance coverage under the AHCA than under the ACA—a statistic that politics have converted into a mantra—that figure is predicated on fictional ACA participation. The CBO assumes 18 million people will be enrolled in ACA exchanges in 2018 and that enrollment will continue to grow until 2026. No one on any side of the political spectrum believes this to be true.

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Senate leadership staff will huddle this week with their colleagues on three key committees to begin drafting the chamber’s legislation to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law. “The drafting process is going to get underway,” said John Thune of South Dakota, the third-ranking Senate Republican. “Now we have enough direction, we’ve had enough meetings, we’ve got enough input from our members to know sort of what the main issues are, and kind of where the moving points are and how we can dial things. We’ll start putting stuff together and get it out there and let people react to it.”

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If the Senate were simply to remove the House bill’s uniform tax credit and continue the hybrid model past 2019 through 2020 and beyond, the bill would most likely get a better coverage score from the CBO. The Senate would be able to direct more financial assistance to those who need it, whether because of old age, ill health, or low income. Indeed, the Senate could tweak the exact formulas for age and income adjustment to maximize the number of people with health insurance in the most cost-effective way.

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For Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, writing a Republican-only health care bill that can pass the Senate boils down to this question: How do you solve a problem like Dean, Lisa, Patrick, Ted, Rand and Susan?

Those are some GOP senators whose clashing demands McConnell, R-Ky., must resolve. Facing solid Democratic opposition to demolishing former President Barack Obama’s 2010 overhaul, Republicans will lose if just three of their 52 senators defect.

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Americans view Humana Inc. and Aetna Inc. no less favorably after the industry giants announced their plans to pull out of the Affordable Care Act’s individual exchanges in 2018, according to Morning Consult Brand Intelligence data.

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The Trump budget assumes Obamacare repeal. On the tax side of this, it particularly assumes repeal of the 3.8% point surtax on capital gains, dividends, and other savings (known as the “net investment income tax,” or NIIT). There are approximately 20 other new or higher taxes in Obamacare that also will be repealed. Tax reform assumes they are gone before starting on a new system.

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As House Republicans passed legislation toppling large portions of the ACA, groups representing hospitals, doctors, consumers and some insurers made no secret of their displeasure. Now, in the Senate, which hopes to complete its own version of a health overhaul by August, Republicans are unambiguous about their intention to draft an entirely new bill in a more deliberate manner with input from outside groups. Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the Senate Finance chairman whose committee is responsible for drafting much of the legislation, has specifically asked for suggestions from industry associations.

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The Congressional Budget Office released its latest Obamacare-related estimatelast week, predicting that the House-passed bill to repeal and replace the embattled law would lead to 23 million more uninsured people by 2026. Although CBO itself acknowledges that this latest prediction is “especially uncertain,” one thing is true: CBO is wrong. The Galen Institute’s Doug Badger explains why in a new Galen Institute paper that can be found here. The agency’s errors are not only significant—one prediction of 2016 exchange-based enrollment missed by 140%–but the agency is also consistent: it regularly over-estimates the number of people who would get insurance through the Obamacare exchanges.

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