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 RyanJuan Williams: Trump fans the flames of white grievance Ex-White House spokesman Raj Shah joins Fox Corporation as senior vice president Trump quietly rolled back programs to detect, combat weapons of mass destruction: report 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 McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report — Mueller Time: Dems, GOP ready questions for high-stakes testimony Election security to take back seat at Mueller hearing McConnell challenger faces tougher path after rocky launch 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 AlexanderFinding a path forward to end surprise medical billing The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke Republicans make U-turn on health care MORE (R-Tenn.) and ranking member Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayFinding a path forward to end surprise medical billing Trump's new labor chief alarms Democrats, unions Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Sanders mounts staunch defense of 'Medicare for All' | Biden, Sanders fight over health care heats up | House votes to repeal ObamaCare 'Cadillac Tax' | Dems want details on fetal tissue research ban 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 NelsonAl Franken says he 'absolutely' regrets resigning Democrats target Florida Hispanics in 2020 Poll: Six Democrats lead Trump in Florida match-ups 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 WaldenOvernight Energy: EPA expands use of pesticide it considers 'highly toxic' to bees | House passes defense bill with measure targeting 'forever chemicals' | Five things to watch as Barry barrels through the Gulf House passes bill to crack down on toxic 'forever chemicals' Overnight Defense: Woman accusing general of sexual assault willing to testify | Joint Chiefs pick warns against early Afghan withdrawal | Tensions rise after Iran tries to block British tanker MORE (R-Ore.), the committee's ranking member Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneEquifax to pay up to 0 million to feds, states in 2017 data breach settlement Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment Overnight Energy: USDA expected to lose two-thirds of research staff in move west | EPA hails Trump's work on reducing air pollution | Agency eyes reducing inspections of nuclear reactors 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 BradyBlue states sue Treasury, IRS over rules blocking Trump tax law workarounds Manufacturers group lobbies Congress for new North America trade deal Lawmakers join Nats Park fundraiser for DC kids charity 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 HatchTrump to award racing legend Roger Penske with Presidential Medal of Freedom Trump awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to economist, former Reagan adviser Arthur Laffer Second ex-Senate staffer charged in aiding doxxing of GOP senators 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

American taxpayers will be Alex Azar's shareholders -- let's hope he can serve them

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)