Overnight Healthcare: GOP considers keeping ObamaCare taxes | Dems seek review of HHS tweets

Overnight Healthcare: GOP considers keeping ObamaCare taxes | Dems seek review of HHS tweets
© Greg Nash

GOP considers keeping ObamaCare taxes 

Senators are seriously considering keeping in place some ObamaCare taxes for longer than the House-passed bill would as they seek to draft healthcare legislation that can pass their chamber with a simple majority.

Republicans are looking to slowly phase out extra federal funds for Medicaid expansion, beef up the new tax credits for buying insurance and add money for opioid abuse treatment -- but they'll have to pay for it to ensure the bill passes muster.

That's because the Senate healthcare bill must save at least as much money as the House legislation. Some senators are interested in additions to the healthcare bill that could cost the government, and savings would have to be found elsewhere, perhaps in some of the taxes, Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneAviation panel recommends Trump roll back safety rules Overnight Regulation: House moves to block methane rule | Senators wrestle with allowing driverless trucks | EPA delays toxic waste rule Overnight Tech: Senate looks at self-driving trucks | Facebook to keep ads off fake news | House panel calls Equifax CEO to testify MORE (S.D.), the chamber's No. 3 Republican, said.

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchFinance to hold hearing on ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea Week ahead in finance: Clock ticking for GOP on tax reform MORE (R-Utah), who is heavily involved in the healthcare discussions as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said that his preference is to repeal all of the taxes but that senators would "look at everything."

Read more here.

Dems request review of Health Department tweets

Congressional Democrats are requesting an investigation into whether the Department of Health and Human Services under President Trump has been violating the law by advocating for the passage of legislation on its Twitter accounts. 

The Democrats, in a letter to the head of the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, point to messages on the official HHS Twitter feed calling for the passage of the Republican bill to repeal ObamaCare, known as the American Health Care Act. 

"In recent months, at least two of the Department's official Twitter accounts have promoted the American Health Care Act ("AHCA") -- legislation that is now pending before the Congress," wrote Sens. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayWeek ahead: Senators near deal to stabilize ObamaCare markets Policymaking commission offers a glimmer of hope in hyper-partisan Washington Dems call on DeVos to work with CFPB to protect student borrowers MORE (D-Wash.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Finance to hold hearing on ObamaCare repeal bill MORE (D-Ore.) as well as Reps. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Richard Neal (D-Mass.), the top Democrats on the congressional healthcare committees.

Read more here.

Michigan health director charged with involuntary manslaughter

Michigan's state health director was charged Wednesday with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the drinking water contamination crisis in Flint.

State Attorney General Bill Schuette (R) charged Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon with involuntary manslaughter and misconduct in office, both felonies, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Eden Wells, Michigan's chief medical executive, was also charged Wednesday with obstruction of justice and lying to a police officer.

Read more here.

House votes to bar undocumented immigrants from health tax credits 

The House passed legislation Tuesday to ensure that immigrants in the country illegally can't access tax credits for health insurance premiums.

Rep. Lou BarlettaLouis (Lou) James BarlettaTop Trump ally announces Senate run in Pennsylvania Barletta to announce Senate bid Tuesday: report Pennsylania Dems file ethics complaint against Rep. Barletta MORE's (R-Pa.) bill, approved in a largely party-line vote of 238-184, would require the Treasury Department to confirm that people applying for the tax credits are verified as U.S. citizens or legal residents by the Commissioner of Social Security or the Secretary of Homeland Security.

A primary way to confirm an applicant's legal status would be through Social Security numbers.

Federal law already requires an individual to be a citizen or legal resident in order to enroll in a health plan through an exchange and receive premium assistance credits, which must be verified by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Read more here.

What we're reading 

The Senate's secret healthcare talks are the latest slide away from transparency. I'm a witness (Kaiser Health News)

GOP healthcare law could cost nearly 1 million jobs, report finds (NBC News)

GOP senators may not realize it, but not one state supports the AHCA (The New York Times)

State by state 

Lawsuit filed over Iowa's switch to privately run Medicaid (U.S. News & World Report)

Medicaid cuts in Wisconsin would undermine training for adults with disabilities (NPR)

How California made ObamaCare work (Modern Healthcare)

 

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