Efforts to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with the Graham-Cassidy legislation were unsuccessful as lawmakers rushed to meet the September 30th deadline when the Senate would have lost its current reconciliation vehicle. Changes to the bill were incorporated in order to gain Republican support from a number of holdouts, but with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) announcing she will not vote for the current proposal, Senate Republicans conceded today since they were short of the 50 votes required to pass the measure. Senate Republicans are currently discussing potential paths forward, including future reconciliation vehicles that would allow for ongoing efforts to repeal and replace the ACA. Efforts to stabilize the insurance exchanges were thwarted by Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in order to advance Graham-Cassidy.
While all eyes have been on the Graham-Cassidy legislation, funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is set to expire on September 30, 2017. Last week, Senators Orrin Hatch(R-UT)) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) of the Finance Committee agreed to a five year reauthorization of CHIP. However, there is no guarantee that the House will support their proposal. CHIP has been introduced as a part of the “Keep Kids Insurance Dependable and Secure Act of 2017” and, if passed, would fund the CHIP Program through federal fiscal year 2022.
We will continue to monitor all efforts this week as the September 30th deadline looms.