President Trump’s first act sets stage for reducing federal regulations

One of President Trump’s first acts after being sworn in was to sign an executive order addressing implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The executive order, entitled Executive Order Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Pending Repeal, states that it is the intent of the Administration to seek the “prompt repeal” of the ACA, and to provide regulatory relief pending repeal, “to the maximum extent permitted by law.” The agencies in charge of implementing the ACA – primarily HHS, Labor, and Treasury – are tasked with implementing the provisions of the order. As commentators have noted, it is not clear what the actual impact of the order will be, which provisions of the ACA will be affected, and what relief can be provided without a change in the law. Kaiser Health News has posted an in-depth analysis of the Executive Order, sorting through the questions and possible answers.

At this point, there have been no changes in any regulation, so LeadingAge members should not change any policies they have implemented as a result of the ACA. In addition, the executive order applies exclusively to the ACA, not to healthcare regulations arising out of any other source. For example, the RoPs rule finalized in September 2016 is largely not affected. LeadingAge previously submitted recommendations for regulatory relief to the Trump Transition Team and is submitting comments to the Senate Finance Committee and the Administration on RoPs specifically.

Price Nomination Hearings for HHS Secretary Continue

Meanwhile, Rep. Tom Price who has been nominated for Secretary of HHS, appeared before the Senate Finance Committee on January 24 for his formal confirmation hearing. In addition to questions about the ACA, Rep. Price was specifically asked about Medicaid block grants. He refused to commit to any specific plans for restructuring Medicaid. The Senate Finance Committee has not scheduled a vote on confirmation. We expect that a hearing will be announced for CMS nominee, Seema Verma, after Rep. Price is confirmed.

Members of Senate HUD Appropriations Subcommittee Named

Appropriators’ reputation for having a desire to adequately fund the nation’s housing programs (even if they don’t always have the resources to do so), coupled with the Senate’s more bi-partisan environment compared to the House’s, the membership of the Senate HUD appropriations subcommittee is expected to be key to finishing FY17 and tackling FY18 funding.

On January 24, Senate Appropriations Chair Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced the new HUD subcommittee line up. Members will include: Susan Collins (R-ME), Chairman; Richard Shelby (R-AL); Lamar Alexander (R-TN); Roy Blunt (R-MO); John Boozman (R-AR); Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV); Steve Daines (R-MT); Lindsey Graham (R-SC); John Hoeven (R-ND); Jack Reed (D-RI), Ranking Member; Patty Murray (D-WA); Richard Durbin (D-IL); Dianne Feinstein (D-CA); Chris Coons (D-DE); Brian Schatz (D-HI); Chris Murphy (D-CT); and Joe Manchin (D-WV).

LeadingAge has already begun meeting with appropriations staff to discuss our FY17 and FY18 priorities for senior housing funding, including securing the authority to expand HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration to include Project Rental Assistance Contracts and resources for housing preservation, service coordination, and new construction.