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The conservative House Freedom Caucus that helped derail the GOP’s effort last month to repeal Obamacare has formally endorsed a revised version of the American Health Care Act, potentiality giving it new life. It remains to be seen how moderate Republicans will view the compromise.

The new enthusiasm stems from an amendment, brokered by Congressman Thomas MacArthur (R-NJ-03). The compromise would allow states to opt out of federal insurance regulations requiring insurers to cover a list of "essential benefits" and not to charge different amounts to individuals of the same age.

The “Seniors Have Eyes, Ears and Teeth Act” (H.R. 508) would expand Medicare to give beneficiaries coverage for hearing services, dental care, vision exams and devices such as hearing aids and glasses. The bill, authored by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) on Jan. 12 already has 126 cosponsors in the House.

The White House released a proposal on Wednesday for what they called the "biggest tax cut" in U.S. history -- with cuts that would benefit businesses, the middle class, and certain high-earning individuals -- but left unanswered questions about whether the plan would be paid for, or how.

Just last week, 35 DTA members and staff spent a day on Capitol Hill visiting members of Congress to discuss repealing the Medical Device Tax and amending the Sunshine Act. The fact that oral health is critical to overall health was another important part of the message to lawmakers. It's crucial that all DTA members participate in our advocacy program. Even if you didn't attend our Washington day, you should contact your elected officials locally.

Healthcare has been at the top of the agenda for Congress over the past several months. As they prepare to leave for the April break no deal has been reached, but there is talk about returning early from the break to vote on a bill. While reform efforts have created headaches for many in the GOP it is essential they get this done as it will impact their plans for tax policy and infrastructure investments.

The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing for Seema Verma' nomination to lead the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Feb. 16.  Verma, president, CEO and founder of consulting firm SVC Inc., is credited as the architect of Indiana's Medicaid expansion, which includes several conservative elements such as cost sharing.

Recently, President Donald Trump's nominee for Office of Management and Budget director, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), told senators at a hearing that he would support regulatory overhaul, including opening up the regulatory review process to greater scrutiny. The Trump Administration supports the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, which has passed the House and is pending in the Senate, that would require congressional approval of all major regulations.

 

By Patrick Cooney, The Federal Group, Inc.
Legislative Representative, Dental Trade Alliance

Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) - two lawmakers who have been adamant that there must be a replacement plan soon after the law is repealed - introduced their version of an Obamacare replacement on Monday. It was quickly dismissed as an "empty facade" by the Senate's top Democrat, Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

#2min2x 

Is the hashtag familiar? It should be. After the combined efforts of the Ad Council and the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives, Americans have become familiar with the call to make sure kids brush two minutes, twice a day. The Kids’ Healthy Mouths campaign continues to reach tens of thousands of parents, caregivers and oral health supporters every day through social media. Take a look at the latest outreach numbers and support their efforts to make sure 2min2x remains at the top of American’s minds by following them on social media.

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