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Your source for the latest updates from Capitol Hill. We translate policy into practice so you can learn how policy trends will affect your work and how best to prepare.

CBO Projects Huge Coverage Losses as Congress Continues Work on Heath Reform

May 25, 2017 | ACA | Medicaid | Comments
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Stephanie Pellitt

Policy and Advocacy Associate

The American Health Care Act (AHCA) will result in dramatic reductions to Medicaid coverage and cuts to spending, according the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) updated analysis released this week. Over the next ten years, the AHCA is projected to roll back Medicaid coverage for 14 million low-income Americans and cut $834 billion dollars from the program, shifting the burden of health care costs to states. Also, this week, the Senate discussed possible paths forward for health care reform as House members worked to advance a package of smaller measures aimed at the individual insurance market.

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As Bipartisan Health Care Talks Occur, GOP Taps Two to Reform Medicaid

May 18, 2017 | ACA | Medicaid | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

Health reform deliberations continued in the Senate this week amongst not only the leadership tapped group of Republicans, but also among a more moderate group of GOP legislators and Democrats. Reports from Capitol Hill indicates the August recess as a deadline for legislation to be passed out of the Senate. However, much remains to be seen on where and how a majority group will emerge. National Council advocates are encouraged to remain diligent in their outreach and advocacy.

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Senate to Craft New Health Reform Bill

May 11, 2017 | ACA | Medicaid | Comments
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Stephanie Pellitt

Policy and Advocacy Associate

Following the House’s narrow advancement of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), action on health reform now turns to the Senate. Many Senators have expressed concerns about AHCA, leading the upper chamber to begin drafting its own health reform proposal. The passage of a health reform package in the Senate is far from certain, giving advocates opportunities to weigh in and share their concerns.

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House Passes AHCA, Puts Mental Health and Addiction Care in Jeopardy

May 4, 2017 | ACA | Medicaid | Comments
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Stephanie Pellitt

Policy and Advocacy Associate

Yesterday, the House narrowly passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) repealing key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and massively cutting the Medicaid program by $882 billion. The bill passed following the addition of an amendment that rolls back essential health benefits and protections for those with pre-existing conditions. The revised AHCA poses an even greater threat to individuals with mental health and addiction disorders and the providers that serve them. The bill now moves to Senate for consideration where a lengthy debate is expected.

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Health Reform Update: New Amendment Has Congress Moving Forward on Repeal and Replace

April 27, 2017 | ACA | Medicaid | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

A new amendment to the American Health Care Act (AHCA) would give states greater authority to roll back key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including the essential health benefits and protections for those with pre-existing conditions. This amendment could be particularly harmful to those with mental illness and addiction as it would create greater barriers to accessing care and having these important services offered at parity with primary care services. The National Council remains opposed to this legislation and is calling on advocates to speak up today to urge legislators to vote “No” on AHCA.

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Budget, ACA Subsidies Take Center Stage as Congress Returns from Recess

April 20, 2017 | ACA | Health Insurance Exchanges | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

When Congress returns from recess on Monday, it will have just one week to finalize a budget deal keeping the government open for the remainder of the 2017 fiscal year. President Trump’s budget request for this year calls for cuts of more than $50 billion dollars to pay for an increase in military spending. While these negotiations continue, health insurers are working with the Administration to secure more than $7 billion in cost-sharing subsidies through the Affordable Care Act. It remains to be seen how these decisions will impact major health care reform legislation.

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CMS Finalizes Rule to Stabilize Insurance Market, Relaxes Network Adequacy

April 20, 2017 | ACA | Comments
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Stephanie Pellitt

Policy and Advocacy Associate

Last Thursday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued its highly anticipated final rule on stability in the individual and small group insurance markets, including the exchanges. The agency said the rule is designed to provide “short-term relief for patients and issuers now” but cautioned that it would not represent a “long-term cure.” The final rule keeps most of the changes the Department of Health and Human Services proposed in February – including more flexibility in the way insurers can calculate the value of their coverage and deferring network adequacy requirements to the states.

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While Health Care Remains Unclear, Advocates Must Remain Vigilant

April 13, 2017 | ACA | Take Action | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

President Trump this week recommitted himself to finalizing a health care deal before moving on to other legislative items. While Congress remains at home on recess, negotiations continue among both congressional leadership and rank-and-file legislators working to build consensus among the majority members. However, with conflicting reports on the progress being made as well as a crowded legislative calendar upon Congress’ return, it is still difficult to decipher how close Congress is to passing a health care law.

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HRSA Releases Grants to Strengthen Behavioral Health Workforce

April 13, 2017 | ACA | Comments
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Stephanie Pellitt

Policy and Advocacy Associate

On Wednesday, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) released applications for the FY 2017 Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) Program. The agency plans to award up to 150 grants totaling $44 million to increase the number of behavioral health providers serving populations across the lifespan, particularly in rural and underserved areas. While behavioral health providers cannot apply directly for the funds, award recipients will need to partner with community providers to ensure job placement and internship opportunities for students.

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Negotiations Continue but No Deal Yet on Health Care Reform

April 6, 2017 | ACA | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

Discussions and negotiations continued this week to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Administration officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, hosted meetings on Capitol Hill and at the White House with members of the House Freedom Caucus and the more moderate Tuesday Group – working to find consensus on a path forward. Despite reports of progress on this initiative, no formal plan or bill has been introduced and agreement does not seem likely at this time. Congress is now on a two-week recess for the Easter holiday.

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Health Reform Update: Administration Can Change Health Care Without Congress

March 30, 2017 | ACA | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

Advocates rejoiced last Friday when Speaker of the House Paul Ryan pulled the American Health Care Act (AHCA) from consideration. The proposal would have rollbacked back the Medicaid expansion and limited Americans’ mental health and addiction coverage and care with structural reforms to Medicaid. However, with Congressional action likely on hold, the National Council is monitoring ways in which the Administration could make changes the nation’s health care system, including potentially harmful reforms to the Medicaid program.

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Latest Changes to Health Care Bill Would Hurt Medicaid, Behavioral Health

March 23, 2017 | ACA | Medicaid | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

Conversations continued this week on Capitol Hill as congressional leaders and White House officials worked to solidify support for the American Health Care Act. On Monday evening, House Republicans released large scale amendments to the bill including more restrictions on Medicaid expansion, providing states the option to turn Medicaid into a block grant, and allowing for the implementation of a work requirement in Medicaid. As of this writing, the House has yet to vote on the measure, but a vote is expected on Friday.

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CBO Reports ACA Replacement Bill Would Slash Medicaid Funding, Coverage

March 16, 2017 | ACA | Medicaid | Comments
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Stephanie Pellitt

Policy and Advocacy Associate

The American Health Care Act (AHCA) will in result in dramatic reductions to Medicaid coverage and cuts to spending, according the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) analysis released this week. Over the next ten years, the AHCA is projected to cut $880 billion dollars from Medicaid, shifting the burden of these costs to states. These cuts to Medicaid and rollback of Medicaid expansion will result in a loss of coverage for an estimated 14 million beneficiaries. The CBO report is the latest wedge causing divisions within the Republican caucus.

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ACA Replacement Bill Slashes Medicaid, Behavioral Health Services

March 9, 2017 | ACA | Medicaid | Comments
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Stephanie Pellitt

Policy and Advocacy Associate

On Monday, the U.S. House released the American Health Care Act (AHCA) to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The bill contains provisions that, if enacted, could devastate Americans’ mental health and addiction coverage and care. The proposal pays for reforms in the commercial health care market by dramatically cutting funding from Medicaid, the single most important funder of mental health and addiction services in this country. Approved by the House Ways and Means Committee early Thursday morning, the proposal remains under consideration by the House Energy and Commerce Committee t

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Leaked Draft GOP Health Plan Receives Mixed Reactions from Congress, Governors

March 2, 2017 | ACA | Medicaid | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

Congress returned from recess this week and continued work on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. This week focused on the leaked draft GOP health care plan which has received opposition from both the left and right. While Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) promised party unity for the draft plan, factions have […]

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Governors Divided on Health Care Reform

March 2, 2017 | ACA | Medicaid | Comments
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Stephanie Pellitt

Policy and Advocacy Associate

At the National Governors’ Association winter meeting last weekend, discussion focused on health care reform and included closed-door meetings with HHS Secretary Tom Price and President Trump. During the weekend of bipartisan meetings, multiple tensions erupted regarding Medicaid expansion and instituting block grants or per capita caps for Medicaid. Ultimately, governors walked away from the event without a clear path forward for health care reform.

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Republicans Unveil Health Care Plan, Legislation Likely Next Week

February 23, 2017 | ACA | Medicaid | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

Late last week, Congressional Republicans released a policy document detailing their vision for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. The proposed plan includes rolling back Medicaid expansion and restructuring Medicaid into a block grant or per capita cap system while offering tax credits to stabilize the individual insurance market. It is expected that a formal bill will be introduced in the House Energy and Commerce Committee when Congress returns from recess next week.

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Consensus Building on ACA Repeal, Replace Continues in Congress

February 9, 2017 | ACA | Comments
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Michael Petruzzelli

, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

While Cabinet confirmation hearings dominated the news cycle this week, discussions continued on Capitol Hill over how to move forward with repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. This week featured the introduction of new legislation as well as public back and forth among individual Members of Congress debating next steps. Legislators have yet to coalesce around a course of action on reforming the nation’s health care system.

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Members of Congress Disagree on ACA Repeal During Republican Retreat

February 2, 2017 | ACA | Comments
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Stephanie Pellitt

Policy and Advocacy Associate

President Trump and members of the Congressional majority met in Philadelphia last week during the Republican retreat to discuss plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). A leaked audio recording of the meeting reveals that GOP members remain divided on the best strategy and path forward for implementing changes to America’s health care system. With Congress still formulating its plan for health care, advocates have an opportunity to take action and voice their concerns about potentially dangerous reforms to essential health care programs like Medicaid.

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Congress Passes Budget Bill Creating Pathway for ACA Repeal

January 19, 2017 | ACA | Comments
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Stephanie Pellitt

Policy and Advocacy Associate

Congress took their first step toward repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) last week, as both chambers passed a budget resolution that gives Congress instructions to start developing an ACA repeal package. The Senate passed the resolution first, followed by the House, and both votes split primarily along party lines. The budget resolution will permit the Congressional majority to use reconciliation, a filibuster-proof tool that would allow repeal legislation to pass with simple majorities in the House and Senate.

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