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 ThuneStop labeling babies as 'born addicted' — it stigmatizes them and is inaccurate Trump plan to claw back billion in spending in peril McConnell: Mueller 'ought to wrap it up' MORE (S.D.), the chamber's No. 3 Republican, said.

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchGOP senators introduce bill to prevent family separations at border Overnight Defense: States pull National Guard troops over family separation policy | Senators question pick for Afghan commander | US leaves UN Human Rights Council Senate GOP tries to defuse Trump border crisis 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 MurrayIBM-led coalition pushes senators for action on better tech skills training Members of Congress demand new federal gender pay audit Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Health chief grilled on Trump drug pricing plan, ObamaCare case MORE (D-Wash.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHillicon Valley: Verizon, AT&T call off data partnerships after pressure | Tech speaks out against Trump family separation policy | T-Mobile, Sprint make case for B merger AT&T, Verizon say they'll stop sharing location data with third-party brokers The Memo: Child separation crisis risks ‘Katrina moment’ for Trump 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 BarlettaPoll: Casey holds double-digit lead over Barletta in Pa. Senate race How lawmakers have landed an endorsement from Trump Pennsylvania lawmakers invite Eagles to Capitol after Trump snub 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)

 

Send tips and comments to Jessie Hellmann, jhellmann@thehill.com; Peter Sullivan, psullivan@thehill.com; Rachel Roubein, rroubein@thehill.com; and Nathaniel Weixel, nweixel@thehill.com