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The Trump administration, via executive order, has kicked off its promised dismantling of the Affordable Care Act but questions abound about timing and the nature of a replacement.

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Eight States Will Stop Medicaid Expansion If Congress Reduces FMAP

Eight states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act included statutory triggers to end their expansion programs should Congress reduce the enhanced federal match below levels guaranteed by the ACA, according to a paper by Manatt Health Solutions obtained by Inside Health Policy.

Senate Republicans See Difficulty In Repealing Medicaid Expansion

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Employers who had braced for a cap on the unlimited tax exclusion as part of the GOP repeal and replace plan expressed no relief that the policy did not appear in the House leadership's policy paper presented at a closed-door congressional meeting Thursday (Feb. 16), especially as lawmakers told reporters the policy had been under discussion.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) announced in a Feb. 16 floor speech that he will craft a legislative solution to price hikes associated with the orphan drug program, following news of an expected increase in the cost of a newly approved drug to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

CMS on Friday gave plans more time to submit applications for participation in the exchanges in 2018, pushing the deadline to June 21, or about six weeks longer than previously scheduled.

The Healthcare Leaders for Accountable Innovation in Medicare is calling for HHS Secretary Tom Price to stop CMS’ innovation center from requiring providers to participate in demonstrations, and a spokesperson for the House Ways & Means Committee says Chair Kevin Brady (R-TX) wants to work with Price on guardrails for demonstrations that test reforms.

Physician groups recommend that CMS simplify Medicare's system for measuring doctor performance, lower the amount of risk doctors must meet to get a 5 percent bump in pay, seriously consider advice from the panel that advises CMS on alternative pay models and cut regulations on electronic health records.

An industry attorney said there is continued uncertainty over how HHS and FDA will implement 21st Century Cures language that calls for harmonization of the two regulators' human research subject protection regulations even though HHS just issued a final rule revising its regulation of the so-called Common Rule.

CMS Administrator-nominee Seema Verma said Thursday (Feb. 16) that she does not support giving vouchers for Medicare beneficiaries to buy insurance, she supports extending funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Plan for eight years, she’ll help Congress investigate EpiPen Medicaid rebates and she’ll make innovation center demonstrations voluntary.

The health insurance lobby and congressional Republicans are both on board a policy proposal that would allow consumers to deposit any excess premium tax credits into a health savings account.