House conservatives said they won’t support a short-term spending bill to fund the government if it contains provisions to “bail out” insurance companies.
A deal between moderate GOP Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would likely attach two bipartisan measures to stabilize ObamaCare’s insurance markets to the spending bill in exchange for her vote on tax reform.
But conservatives say that wouldn’t pass the House.
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Senate Democrats who fret over the distributional effects of tax cuts should thank their GOP colleagues for giving them the chance this week to vote on repealing one of the most regressive taxes: the Obamacare tax on the uninsured.
This tax disproportionately falls on those with incomes less than $50,000, while exempting many households earning six-figure salaries. Many who qualify for subsidies will have to choose between paying the tax and buying policies that offer shabby coverage with onerous deductibles that could stick them with big medical bills.
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Though much of the discussion during Alex Azar’s confirmation hearing for secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services centered on his ties to the pharmaceutical industry, a Senate panel also grilled Azar on payment reforms, the Affordable Care Act and electronic health records.
- 65 percent of GOP respondents disapprove of the Affordable Care Act’s requirement to have health insurance, from 51 percent in September.
- Disapproval of the mandate increased from 49 percent to 54 percent among all respondents, largely because of sentiment among GOP voters.
Congress is headed for a showdown on whether to insert several pressing health measures in year-end bills, reviving partisan fights that threaten to derail Republicans’ goal to close out the year with a raft of legislative successes.
The looming health-care issues include funding for a children’s health program, the possible delay of certain taxes by the Affordable Care Act and the fate of a bipartisan plan to bolster fragile insurance markets.
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Nearly 2.8 million people signed up for ObamaCare plans during the first 25 days of open enrollment, but the rate of sign-ups has slowed, the Trump administration announced.
The fourth week resulted in just over 504,000 people selecting plans, compared with just under 800,000 people during the third week.
That number was also down from the 876,788 who signed up during week two, and the 601,462 who signed up during the first week of open enrollment.
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Legislation from the duo at the helm of the Senate health panel would do little to improve the number of uninsured individuals if the mandate created by the 2010 health law is repealed, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
A repeal of the mandate — which requires individuals to purchase insurance or pay a yearly fine — is currently included in the GOP bill to overhaul the U.S. tax code.
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