Democrats revolted against this week’s spending package because the deal includes the 1970s Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funds from subsidizing abortion. The left claims this is some new GOP initiative. But Hyde protections have long applied to: Medicaid, Medicare, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Indian Health Service, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, the military health-care program Tricare, among others, as Republicans have pointed out. Such guarantees are standard for appropriations bills.
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Of the $88 billion HHS appropriation announced Wednesday night, not a penny is going toward Obamacare. Congress is however extending oversight requirements on HHS regarding its administration of the health exchanges.
Congressional leaders released the long-awaited $1.3 trillion, two-year spending omnibus after days of wrangling behind closed doors over contentious policies that included an embattled stabilization package for the individual market that would fund cost-sharing reduction payments and a $30 billion reinsurance pool.
The bill was passed late Thursday night.
Lawmakers hustled Monday to resolve policy disputes holding up an agreement on a sweeping spending bill needed to keep the government funded beyond Friday, but negotiations stretched into early Tuesday morning.
Disagreements over health-care policy, immigration and funding for a New York rail tunnel project persisted as Democrats, Republicans and the White House negotiated the measure that would keep the government open until October and prevent a partial shutdown when its current funding expires at 12:01 a.m. Saturday.
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Sens. Lamar Alexander and Susan Collins have proposed a market stabilization package that would include funding for the Affordable Care Act’s cost-sharing reduction subsidies for three years, three years of federal reinsurance at $10 billion a year, additional ACA waiver flexibility for states, and expanded eligibility for “copper” plans.
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The recently passed 600-page Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 will impact almost every sector of the American economy. But one provision has the potential to do real damage. The BBA fundamentally alters the popular and successful Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit and puts our nation further down a path towards socialized medicine.
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The most significant federal entitlement reform in our lifetime was a little noticed provision that Democrats included in the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The provision garnered almost no attention from the mainstream media or even from most conservative commentators. Yet according to the Medicare Trustees report that followed, this one provision eliminated $52 trillion of unfunded federal government liability – an amount that was more than three times the size of the US economy.
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The White House budget for fiscal 2019 seeks major savings by repealing ObamaCare and endorsed a Senate GOP bill as the best way to do so.
“The Budget supports a two-part approach to repealing and replacing Obamacare, starting with enactment of legislation modeled closely after the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson (GCHJ) bill as soon as possible,” the White House said in its budget request.
The legislation from Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) would replace ObamaCare with a series of block grants to states.
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United States health spending is projected to rise 5.3 percent in 2018, reflecting rising prices of medical goods and services and higher Medicaid costs, a U.S. government health agency said on Wednesday, an upward trend it forecasts for the next decade.
The increase represents a sharp uptick from 2017 spending, which the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) now estimates to have been a 4.6 percent climb to nearly $3.5 trillion. It had previously forecast a 2017 rise of 5.4 percent.
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Congressional House leaders plan legislation this year to tackle deficits by curbing entitlements, just weeks after digging a deeper deficit hole with a tax plan that will add an estimated $1.5 trillion to the national debt over the next 10 years.
Entitlement reform is certainly needed. Even before the tax legislation, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) forecast a major rise in federal deficits, from 2.9% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017 to nearly 10% within 30 years. Over that period, says the CBO, health spending, and in particular Medicare, will be one of the largest drivers of spending.
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Growth in U.S. health spending slowed considerably in 2016, rising by 4.3 percent, after two years of higher spending growth spurred by Obamacare and prescription drugs.
The slowdown in health spending growth was seen broadly across all major forms of private and public insurance, and in medical services, prescription drugs and other goods, according to an official analysis released Wednesday.
But because health spending grew faster, as it has for years, than overall gross domestic product, health spending’s share of the economy increased to 17.9 percent in 2016, up from 17.7 percent of the economy the year before.
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