The three latest theatrical gambits to fan the smoldering embers of the previously-abandoned AHCA include: 1. The cost-sharing subsidy payment termination bluff, 2. Grasping for the thinly-funded straw of “invisible” risk pools to promise individual insurance market premium reductions and protection of coverage for persons with pre-existing health conditions, and 3. The Freedom Caucus “lions” are preparing to lie down with the Tuesday Club “lambs” in a new compromise that revives an amended version of the AHCA.
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House GOP leaders determined Thursday night that they didn’t have the votes to pass a rewrite of the Affordable Care Act and would not seek to put their proposal on the floor on Friday.
A late push to act on health care had threatened the bipartisan deal to keep the government open for one week while lawmakers crafted a longer-term spending deal. Now, members are likely to approve the short-term spending bill when it comes to the floor and keep the government open past midnight on Friday.
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Congressional Republicans have called for restructuring Medicaid, reviving a debate that has largely remained dormant for two decades. During the mid-1990s, Congress and President Clinton advanced competing Medicaid reform proposals. Republicans urged that the federal government issue Medicaid block grants to states. The White House and congressional Democrats proposed instead to place per capita limits on federal Medicaid payments to states. The most salient difference between these approaches is that per capita allotments retain the individual entitlement to Medicaid while block grants generally do not. Today, Republicans who once resisted Medicaid per capita allotments support them, and Democrats who backed such allotments oppose them. Given this legislative history, policymakers seeking common ground might look to Medicaid per capita allotments as a point of departure.
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