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A Huge Sigh of Relief on Health Care

Author: Laurie Garrett, Senior Fellow for Global Health
March 25, 2017


As House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the Republican health care bill from voting, I could almost hear the giant sigh of relief from Atlanta and across the nation's health care establishment.
Hidden in the nooks and crannies of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) was a provision to eliminate $1 billion in disease prevention funds from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Those cheers I imagine I hear right now in Atlanta are huzzahs from the CDC headquarters.
According to the GOP plan, "Our Step-by-Step Approach," the first of three steps towards reshaping the American health care market was thwarted on Friday when the White House, recognizing that splits within the Republican Party could not be resolved to allow passage of the AHCA, instructed Ryan to pull the bill. Step two, led by Secretary Tom Price and his team at the Department of Health and Human Services, may still proceed: "going through every page of regulations and guidance related to the Affordable Care Act to determine whether or not they work for patients," with an eye to eliminating the rules laid out by the Obama administration.
And under step three, Congress would have passed a series of laws aimed at lowering malpractice liability, enhancing cross-state-line insurance marketing and eliminating all forms of family planning provisions covered with federal funds. Republicans now know that all three steps will be tough, if not impossible, for them to accomplish.

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