Overnight Healthcare: GOP eyes 'repeal and delay' for ObamaCare

A Republican plan to quickly repeal most of ObamaCare but delay the effects for up to two years is gaining steam on Capitol Hill.

The plan would allow Republicans to deliver on promises to repeal the law in the next Congress while buying them time to come up with a replacement. But there's a problem: If insurers know the law is going away, they might drop out immediately, causing chaos for enrollees before any replacement plan has time to take shape.

ADVERTISEMENT

While 2017 coverage is already locked in, an exodus of insurers for 2018 would throw coverage into doubt for the roughly 10 million people enrolled in ObamaCare plans.

"If they know the law is ending sometime soon, I don't know that they're going to be so excited about sticking around," Larry Levitt, an expert on the healthcare law at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said of insurers. Read more here. http://bit.ly/2g2NNsn

Budget chair says Medicare overhaul could go through reconciliation

The head of the House Budget Committee said Thursday that lawmakers are eying an overhaul of Medicare next year.

Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) said he expects lawmakers to push forward with an overhaul "within the first six to eight months" of President-elect Donald Trump's administration.

He said it would be tackled through the Senate budget tactic called "reconciliation," which allows major spending-related bills to pass the upper chamber without a veto.

"I think that's probably in the second phase of reconciliation, which would have to be in the fiscal year 2018 budget," Price added.

Such a move would be extremely controversial. Read more here. http://bit.ly/2gld8Av

No ObamaCare details discussed in Pence meeting

House Republicans said they heard no details about how to dismantle ObamaCare from Vice President-elect Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceTrump endorses challenger to Hogan ally in Maryland governor's race Pence to headline New Hampshire event focused on Biden spending plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Arbery case, Biden spending bill each test views of justice MORE when he addressed the caucus in a closed-door meeting Thursday.  

During his closed-door gathering with House Republicans, Pence touched on the Trump administration's 100-day and 200-day plans. But he didn't get into the details, leaving a few members grumbling as they left.

"No specifics," said Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) as he exited the meeting when asked about the two plans. "Nope."

GOP leaders are deep in discussions about how to pursue ObamaCare repeal in the first few weeks – or months – of a Trump administration.

Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) told reporters Thursday that he and other GOP leaders are still looking at the option for bringing back this year's budget resolution to achieve reconciliation "rapidly" in 2017.

"That's the plan," he said. When asked if that reconciliation bill would target healthcare, Price said: "It hasn't been decided, but the first phase would likely be for ObamaCare."

Senate Democrats plot ObamaCare defense

As Republicans begin working to repeal key pieces of the Affordable Care Act, Democrats are beginning to plot their strategy to save it.

Advocates and policymakers have started conversations focusing on ensuring 20 million Americans don't lose their health insurance and on maintaining some core ObamaCare provisions.

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Democrats could try to pick their policy battles during the budget process.

"Budget reconciliation starts with a budget resolution, and that may be our chance to argue some of these issues," Durbin told reporters. Read more here. http://bit.ly/2gnhMih

Planned Parenthood funding on chopping block?

A key anti-abortion rights group is lobbying House lawmakers to target Planned Parenthood's federal funding – and fast.

"We call on Congress to follow this proven pathway and send President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel faces double-edged sword with Alex Jones, Roger Stone Trump goes after Woodward, Costa over China Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves MORE a reconciliation bill that defunds Planned Parenthood in as soon as possible in 2017, and not a moment later," the president of Susan B. Anthony's List wrote in a letter to all House members this week.

House GOP leaders say they might move a budget resolution next month or in January to give themselves an extra shot at repealing ObamaCare this year.

Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) told The Hill on Thursday that Republicans planned to use the same reconciliation bill that they passed in 2015 – which included a defunding of Planned Parenthood – with a few minor tweaks.

Price said he didn't know yet whether Planned Parenthood would be included again, and said that discussions are "still ongoing."

ON TAP TOMORROW

Physicians for a National Health Program will hold a protest against high drug prices outside the PhRMA headquarters in downtown D.C.

WHAT WE'RE READING

Republicans acknowledge the replace part of repeal and replace is hard. (Bloomberg)

An explainer of seven different GOP ObamaCare replacement plans. (Vox)

The Surgeon General releases a landmark report on drug addiction. (Washington Post)

IN THE STATES

Blue Shield, California's biggest ObamaCare insurer, vows it's not 'running for the hills.' (Kaiser Health News)

Medicaid is in the GOP crosshairs along with Obamacare, argues Ed Kilgore. (New York Magazine)

Did looming ACA repeal doom Medicaid expansion in South Dakota? (Modern Healthcare)

ICYMI FROM THE HILL DOT COM

Senate health chairman: Replacing ObamaCare could take years http://bit.ly/2gnya2l

Poll: Americans want Trump to first focus on healthcare http://bit.ly/2g0eQTy

 

Send tips and comments to Sarah Ferris, sferris@thehill.com, and Peter Sullivan, psullivan@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @thehill@sarahnferris@PeterSullivan4