House Republican leaders began laying out components of an Obamacare replacement bill at a closed-door meeting with members on Thursday, Feb. 16. Party leaders, including chairs of key committees, proposed age-based tax credits to replace Obamacare’s subsidies, new options for Medicaid, and scrapping taxes. They also floated ideas on how to pay for the replacement plan, such as capping the tax exclusion currently offered only to employer-sponsored health plans. House members received a policy brief that outlines where legislation is headed to help them prepare for next week’s town hall meetings in their districts.
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Two of the top Republicans in Congress on Monday said they are pushing ahead with the plan to begin repealing ObamaCare this spring, despite any confusion caused by President Trump saying the process could spill into next year.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) told reporters that he is working off of Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) timeline of moving repeal legislation by the end of March.

“That’s the timetable I’m working off of,” Brady said.

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Conservative Republicans, worried about growing voices within the party advising or accepting a slower pace for repealing the Affordable Care Act, are redoubling their push to speed the GOP’s long-desired goal.

President Donald Trump on Sunday became the latest top Republican to sound cautious notes about the party’s ability to rapidly repeal large swaths of the 2010 health law and enact its own vision. He told Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly that “maybe it’ll take until sometime into next year,” saying repeal and replacement was “statutorily” difficult to accomplish quickly.

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President Donald Trump walked back his recent vow that Obamacare would be replaced in short order, telling F0x News’ Bill O’Reilly that the process is “complicated” and “maybe it’ll take till sometime into next year.”

“It statutorily takes a while to get,” Trump said in a wide-ranging interview that aired Sunday during the Super Bowl pre-game show. “We’re going to be putting it in fairly soon, I think that yes I would like to say by the end of the year at least the rudiments, but we should have something within the year and the following year.”

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Republican leaders laid out an aggressive legislative agenda that would have Congress repeal major portions of Obamacare, pass replacement measures and embark on a major tax code overhaul. At their annual policy retreat in Philadelphia, the GOP put repealing and replacing Obamacare as the first order of business, with the target date for action within the next three months. They laid out a three-pronged plan—one that would start with a “reconciliation” bill that could skirt a Senate filibuster but accomplish only some of the GOP’s health care goals. Meanwhile, the Trump administration would use its executive and regulatory powers to abolish parts of the law, while lawmakers continue work on more thorough replacement legislation that would need some Democratic support.

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Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Wednesday mapped out the GOP’s 200-day legislative strategy, saying Republicans will repeal and replace portions of ObamaCare by spring and tackle tax reform before the August recess.

During a private meeting of House and Senate Republicans at their annual policy retreat, Ryan said House committees will mark up a reconciliation package in the next couple of weeks that will both repeal President Obama’s healthcare law and replace portions of it, according to several lawmakers in the room.

Then, Ryan will bring the final reconciliation package to the House floor by late February or early March.

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The CMS has made a handful of final changes to the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplaces for 2018, just a little more than a month before Donald Trump takes over the White House and congressional Republicans move to repeal the healthcare reform law.

A final rule published late Friday cements many of the CMS’ proposals from August. Some of the most notable changes involve the ACA’s permanent risk-adjustment program, which funnels money from insurers with lower-cost enrollees to companies that have higher-cost enrollees.

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Federal regulators Thursday night extended the midnight deadline for Affordable Care Act insurance by four days, as consumers fought to get through to call center operators and log onto to buy insurance that takes effect Jan. 1.

“Nearly a million consumers have left their contact information to hold their place in line,” CEO Kevin Counihan said in a statement late Thursday. “Our goal is to provide affordable coverage to everyone seeking it before the deadline, and these two additional business days will give consumers an opportunity to come back and complete their enrollment for January 1 coverage.”

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The Obama administration hasn’t done enough to ensure that the right people get Obamacare subsidies, according to a new report from congressional Republicans.

The report details earlier investigations into Obamacare’s verification process for income eligibility, which screens whether a person is eligible for tax credits. It also criticizes the administration for relaxing standards for income eligibility.

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The Obama administration Monday confirmed a 25% average jump in premiums for the Affordable Care Act’s benchmark health plans and acknowledged later sign-up deadlines for hundreds of thousands of people whose insurers are dropping their plans because of rising costs.

Sharper increases had already been posted in states around the country. Market-leader insurers that are continuing to sell coverage through or a state equivalent have been granted average premium increases of 30% or more in Alabama, Delaware, Hawaii, Kansas, Mississippi and Texas. In states including Arizona, Illinois, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, the approved rate increases for the market leader top 50%.

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