5. House GOP proposes steep ACA cuts
House Republicans have again proposed defunding big parts of the ACA, even targeting some funding streams that the Trump administration has left alone. The cuts are included in a draft of the annual HHS appropriations bill, released yesterday.
The bill would:
- Eliminate all funding for the “navigators” who help people sign up for ACA plans
- Eliminate the user fees that HHS uses to operate the ACA’s insurance exchanges in 34 states.
- Prohibit HHS from using any appropriated funds to “implement ObamaCare.”
Separately from the ACA, the House proposal would eliminate federal funding for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics.
- The Trump administration had proposed giving those clinics an unspecified amount of anti-opioids funding, and they got about $100 million in this year's spending bill. But appropriators thought other programs would be more effective.
Threat level: Low. There’s a good chance Congress will pass another continuing resolution, rather than individual appropriations bills. Either way, no funding bill is likely to pass without Democratic votes, and Democrats will not agree to defund the ACA.
Yes, but: This draft is still a sign that Republicans aren’t backing down, at least rhetorically, in the next round of health care wars.