Yesterday, Thorn Run’s Billy Wynne co-authored a post on the Health Affairs blog that outlined the prospects of the Alexander-Murray stabilization package. The blog post — which was co-authored by Timothy Jost, a professor at Washington and Lee University School of law — provides an in-depth look at the policies that are expected to be in the short-term stabilization package, touching on likely impact that they will have on the current Affordable Care Act (ACA) individual insurance market. The post suggests that the bipartisan measure faces an uphill slog despite some positive signals from key members such as House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC).
TRP in the News
This morning's "Morning Money" piece from Politico featured “hat tip” to comments made by Thorn Run’s Jason Rosenstock, who offered his take on the current state of play between both parties on the debt limit earlier this summer. “Democrats whose history under the Gephardt Rule shows they never wanted to make this a public issue, and who are tired of having to supply the votes and the campaign fodder for Republicans, have almost no incentive to bail out the GOP majority,” noted Rosenstock. “Republicans, in control of all three branches of Government for the first time during one of these crises, know that they can’t escape the blame for any repercussions from the stock market for failing to raise the debt limit. While few are publicly talking about it, the stars may be aligning so that this next extension is the final time Congress deals with this issue.”
For immediate release: July 24, 2017
Contact: Andrew Rosenberg, (202) 247-6301
Thorn Run Partners (TRP) announced today the addition of Capitol Hill staffer Charles (Chas) Thomas as Vice President. Thomas joins TRP from the Office of Representative Robert Pittenger (R-NC), where he served as Senior Legislative Assistant and Pittenger’s lead staff liaison to the House Financial Services Committee, including the Monetary Policy & Trade and Financial Institutions & Consumer Credit Subcommittees.
In a recent blog published by The New York Times’ blog ‘TheUpshot,’ Thorn Run Partners’ Billy Wynne offered his expertise on the provisions that could be struck from the Senate Health Bill. Wynne was part of a panel of experts that weighed in on what might happen to questionable portions of the Senate health bills. The portions that were reviewed include: (1) Restrictions on abortion coverage; (2) a provision defunding Planned Parenthood; (3) a newly permissive state waiver process; (4) changes to rules governing insurance pricing by age; (5) funding for cost-sharing reductions: (6) elimination of the medical-loss ratio rule and; (7) the Cruz Amendment. “According to our nine experts, at least some parts of the bill are likely to be eliminated before the voting begins.”
In an op-ed published in RealClearHealth, Thorn Run's Shea McCarthy comments on the narrow path forward for the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). McCarthy notes that while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel stated a repeal and replace “will not be successful,” the GOP’s most viable path forward in passing healthcare reform remains the BCRA. “The 49 GOP senators who met over lunch at the White House last Wednesday left the meeting encouraged, and negotiations among undecided senators continued at a Members-only meeting Wednesday night,” said McCarthy. McCarthy also highlighted the unfeasibility of a “repeal and delay” tactic that would likely alienate moderates and stall healthcare reform altogether. “The likely absence of Sen. McCain this week and the intransigence of Sen. Collins will make threading the legislative needle a difficult — almost impossible — task for GOP leaders. But the BCRA could make one last gasp for revival before we finally write its eulogy. And if Leader McConnell writes the right prescription, it has an outside chance at survival.”
In an Inside Health Policy article published yesterday, Thorn Run Partner’s Senior Vice President Shea McCarthy offered his take on the role of conservatives in the House — namely the Republican Study Committee (RSC) and the House Freedom Caucus — in looming negotiations between the two chambers as lawmakers continue to digest the Senate’s healthcare reform bill. McCarthy noted that while it was expected that the Senate’s version was always expected to be more centrist than the House’s American Health Care Act (AHCA), key questions remain as to whether or not Senate conservatives — such as Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) — will support a more moderate package. “Cruz in particular still carries a lot of weight with the RSC and the Freedom Caucus,” said McCarthy in the interview prior to the Senators’ opposition of the current bill. “Assuming Cruz and Lee ultimately sign off on the Senate’s version, signaling that the bill goes ‘far enough,’ it’s hard to envision enough conservative House members casting votes to sink the package.”
In an Inside Health Policy article published last week, Thorn Run Partners Senior Vice President Shea McCarthy noted that he has heard rumblings within the GOP that the Senate could get rid of the community rating waiver in the House's American Health Care Act. “Early reports indicate that the Senate plans to keep the House’s waivers allowing states to opt out of the ACA’s essential health benefits and age-rating band requirements, but that they plan to eliminate the waiver that would allow states to skirt the ACA’s requirement that insurers must offer coverage to people with pre-existing conditions," noted McCarthy. "The waiver from the pre-existing condition protection — the so-called “community rating” policy — has been subject to deep criticism from those who fear costs could skyrocket for many patients in states that seek the waivers. Conservatives would prefer to keep the waiver, and this issue hasn’t necessarily been settled.” McCarthy also mentioned that a tax credit could be available for those making less than 250 percent of the poverty level, and that additional funding may bue dedicatyed for people aged 50-64.
This morning's "Morning Money" piece from Politico featured comments from Thorn Run’s Jason Rosenstock, who offers his take on the current state of play between both parties on the debt limit. “Democrats whose history under the Gephardt Rule shows they never wanted to make this a public issue, and who are tired of having to supply the votes and the campaign fodder for Republicans, have almost no incentive to bail out the GOP majority,” noted Rosenstock. “Republicans, in control of all three branches of Government for the first time during one of these crises, know that they can’t escape the blame for any repercussions from the stock market for failing to raise the debt limit. While few are publicly talking about it, the stars may be aligning so that this next extension is the final time Congress deals with this issue.”
In an op-ed published in RealClearHealth, TRP's Billy Wynne touches on the latest Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score of the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The article highlights the key developments of the score pertaining to cuts to Medicaid and the replacement of ACA's premium subsidies with new tax credits, and touches on the future of the bill now that it is under consideration in the senate. Wynne notes that"Senate Republicans now face a fundamental choice. Do they take seriously their assertions, made over the last seven-plus years, that they have a way to strengthen our health care system? Or do they go the way of AHCA, which gives scant regard to that pursuit in favor of an ideology willing to sacrifice protections for the most vulnerable in order to redistribute wealth to the powerful." He also goes onto criticize the AHCA for c"utting coverage from our most vulnerable to fund tax cuts for the wealthy."
In an Inside Health Policy article published yesterday, Thorn Run Partners’ Senior Vice President Shea McCarthy weighed in the potential auto-enrollment of individuals into health plans, an idea spearheaded by Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) in their healthcare bill entitled The Patient Freedom Act. “Aside from helping Republicans improve the dismal coverage numbers estimated for House bill, auto-enrolling people in low-cost plans could also help keep the individual market balanced,” noted McCarthy. “Assuming some logistical concerns could be assuaged, insurance carriers would have plenty of incentive to participate in a market where the federal government were directly enrolling healthy people who might not otherwise purchase coverage — potentially reducing premiums for other enrollees. The policy could ultimately be a more powerful tool than the individual mandate to bring younger and healthier individuals into the market.” McCarthy also acknowledged that while the rollout of an auto-enrollment policy would likely be challenging, there are avenues that can be explored to make the process feasible. “States could supplement federal data by requiring residents to say whether they are insured when they pay state taxes or renew their driver’s license. The states also could allow hospitals and physicians to identify uninsured patients to be enrolled into no-premium plans.”