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 ThuneOvernight Tech: Senate panel subpoenaed ex-Yahoo chief | Twitter gives all users 280 characters | FBI can't access Texas shooter's phone | EU wants tax answers from Apple Overnight Cybersecurity: What we learned from Carter Page's House Intel testimony | House to mark up foreign intel reform law | FBI can't access Texas shooter's phone | Sessions to testify at hearing amid Russia scrutiny Former Yahoo CEO subpoenaed to appear before Congress MORE (S.D.), the chamber's No. 3 Republican, said.

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchRead Senate GOP's tax bill Senate panel to start tax bill markup on Monday Senate set for clash with House on tax bill 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 MurrayA bipartisan bridge opens between the House and Senate Overnight Health Care: ObamaCare sign-ups surge in early days Collins, Manchin to serve as No Labels co-chairs MORE (D-Wash.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenLobbying World Overnight Regulation: House to vote on repealing joint-employer rule | EPA won't say which areas don't meet Obama smog rule | Lawmakers urge regulators to reject Perry plan New tax plan will hinder care for older Americans 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 BarlettaGOP Senate hopefuls reluctant to back McConnell as leader Trump gives Barletta edge in crowded Pa. primary Trump sells tax reform with trucker backdrop in Pennsylvania 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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