Overnight Health Care: Ryan's office warns he wasn't part of ObamaCare deal | House conservatives push for mandate repeal in final tax bill | Dem wants probe into CVS-Aetna merger

Overnight Health Care: Ryan's office warns he wasn't part of ObamaCare deal | House conservatives push for mandate repeal in final tax bill | Dem wants probe into CVS-Aetna merger
© Greg Nash

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanGOP leaders pitch children's health funding in plan to avert shutdown Lawmakers see shutdown’s odds rising Fix what we’ve got and make Medicare right this year MORE's (R-Wis.) office told a meeting of congressional leadership offices on Monday that the Speaker is not part of a deal to get ObamaCare fixes passed before the end of the year, according to a source familiar with the meeting.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants NSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Overnight Finance: Lawmakers see shutdown odds rising | Trump calls for looser rules for bank loans | Consumer bureau moves to revise payday lending rule | Trump warns China on trade deficit MORE (R-Ky.) made a commitment to Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) that he would support passage of two bipartisan ObamaCare bills before the end of the year, a promise that helped win her vote for tax reform.

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However, Ryan's office told a meeting of staff from the four top congressional leadership offices on Monday that he has not made that same commitment, raising further questions about whether the ObamaCare bills, already opposed by House conservatives, can pass the House.

Ryan's office did not go so far as to say it opposed the bipartisan bills, the source said, and it is still possible the measures could pass before the end of the year. The Senate is expected to add the measures to a government funding bill later this month, which would put pressure on the House to accept it or else risk a government shutdown.

Collins also got a commitment from President Trump to support the bills, which could help get them to passage.

One of the measures in question, from Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderWeek ahead: Lawmakers near deal on children's health funding Ryan suggests room for bipartisanship on ObamaCare Time to end fiscal year foolishness MORE (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayCDC director to miss fourth hearing because of potential ethics issues Week ahead: Lawmakers near deal on children's health funding Ryan suggests room for bipartisanship on ObamaCare MORE (D-Wash.), would fund key ObamaCare payments to insurers for two years in exchange for additional flexibility for states to change ObamaCare rules. The other bill, from Collins and Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonSenate campaign fundraising reports roll in Week ahead: Tech giants to testify on extremist content Puerto Rico's children need recovery funds MORE (D-Fla.), would provide funding known as "reinsurance" that helps pay for the costs of sick ObamaCare enrollees with the intent of bringing down premiums.

Collins hopes that these two bills would make up for the premium increases caused by repealing ObamaCare's individual mandate in the tax bill.

Read more here.

 

Top House Dem calls for probe into CVS-Aetna merger

A top House Democrat is calling for a hearing to examine the merger between CVS and Aetna.

In a letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenWeek ahead: Lawmakers near deal on children's health funding The House needs to help patients from being victimized by antiquated technology Overnight Health Care: Officials move to allow Medicaid work requirements | GOP chairman eyes action on children's health funding next week | Sanders to host 'Medicare for all' town hall MORE (R-Ore.), the committee's ranking member Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneLawmakers say they're close to deal on CHIP funding Five key decisions for the GOP on health care 8.8 million sign up for ObamaCare, nearly matching last year MORE (D-N.J.) asked for a hearing on the merger as soon as possible.

"As the business of healthcare continues to morph, it is critical that Congress closely examine the changing relationships among healthcare entities and the impact these changing relationships have on the way healthcare is delivered in this country," Pallone wrote.

If approved, the $69 billion merger of the nation's largest pharmacy and third-largest health insurer could have major implications for the health care industry.

The companies are arguing that when merged, they will be able to improve health outcomes and reduce costs by integrating the pharmacy and insurer. They are promising significant changes to the business of health care delivery.

Read more here.

 

Chairman expects 'strong support' in House GOP for mandate repeal in tax bill 

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyHouse passes tariff-relief bill GOP may increase IRS’s budget Overnight Finance: Congress barrels toward another shutdown crisis | Canada worries Trump will withdraw from NAFTA | Blue-state Republicans push tax law changes | Chamber CEO calls out Bannon, Warren MORE (R-Texas) told reporters Tuesday that he expects most House Republicans will support repealing ObamaCare's individual mandate in tax legislation, as GOP senators did.

"We'll be asking our members where do they want us to be on that position. I suspect there will be strong support," he said.

The House-passed tax bill did not include repeal of the individual mandate, while the Senate bill did. The two chambers now must reconcile their versions of tax-reform legislation in a bicameral conference.

Twenty Republicans voted against the House's health-care bill in May, which included mandate repeal, though some of those members voted for the House's tax bill.

Read more here.

 

House conservatives push for repeal of ObamaCare mandate in final tax bill

The Republican Study Committee (RSC), a group of conservative Republicans in the House, is pushing for tax reform to include a repeal of the individual mandate.

"Including language to repeal this harmful policy will return personal decisions about health care choices to patients, fulfilling a key promise we have made to the American people," the RSC wrote in a letter being circulated among members.

In a letter to Ways & Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Senate Finance Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchKoch groups: Don't renew expired tax breaks in government funding bill Hatch tweets link to 'invisible' glasses after getting spotted removing pair that wasn't there DHS giving ‘active defense’ cyber tools to private sector, secretary says MORE (R-Utah), the RSC asks that the final package that emerges from a conference committee between the two houses contain a repeal of the mandate.

"Obamacare's coercive individual mandate represents perhaps the worst example of the federal government violating individual freedom and liberty -- which is why we have repeatedly promised to repeal it," the letter, which has about 50 signatures, says.

Read more here.

 

From The Hill's opinion pages

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Congress should massively ramp up funding for the NIH

Medicaid funds shouldn't be used to subsidize state taxes on health care

 

What we're reading

Orrin Hatch just made the Republican agenda startlingly clear (Vox)

Trump science job nominees missing advanced science degrees (AP)

The CHIP program is beloved. Why is its funding in danger? (The New York Times)

 

State by state

Abortion limits advance in Pennsylvania House (Associated Press)

New maternal mortality strategy relies on 'medical homes' (Stateline)

State Medicaid director Michael Heifetz resigning (Wisconsin State Journal)

Premera to reimburse Alaska state insurance program $25M (AP)