The first 100 days

February 2017 - Vol. 36, No. 01

cap_buildWhat to expect from the new Administration and 115th Congress

After a hyper-partisan campaign  season and some November election surprises, the dust slowly began to settle on Capitol Hill in late 2016.  During that time, President-elect Trump’s “Transition Team” arrived in the nation’s capital and both chambers of Congress,  without much fanfare, reaffirmed their respective leadership. Then, the planning began. Read on to learn more about the issues the new Administration and Congress are likely to address early this year.

Repeal of the Affordable Care Act

Republicans have long sought to repeal and replace one of the Obama Administration’s signature achievements, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), voting more than 60 times on various repeal measures since the bill became law in 2010. That goal is now likely to become reality, with questions about IF the ACA will be repealed changing to questions about WHEN the measure will reach President Trump’s desk. Despite the general consensus that Congress will move quickly to advance a comprehensive repeal bill, Republican lawmakers have continued to struggle with the last, and most important, question, WHAT will replace the ACA? The “with what” associated with ACA repeal does not seem to be a question that will be answered easily. Stay tuned as this repeal/replace effort continues to unfold.

Regulatory relief

Easing the “regulatory burden” is another top priority for Congress and the new Administration. As such, both entities are expected to focus on rolling back several regulations that were finalized in the final months of the Obama Administration during the first part of the year. Per the Congressional Review Act, Congress can utilize a 60-legislative-day “look-back” at any new federal regulation issued by government agencies and, by passage of a joint resolution, can overrule said regulation. Preparations to utilize this procedural review tactic were well underway late last year and even impacted Congress’ desire to adjourn as quickly as possible in December. While this effort will not specifically focus on healthcare, it remains possible that several health-related regulations could be impacted.

Tax and entitlement reform

Although any efforts relating to tax and entitlement (Medicare/Medicaid) reform may fall beyond the 100-day mark, they remain among the most talked-about issues. Whether Congress and the Administration attempt to quickly tackle these issues will largely depend on their strategies regarding usage of the budgetary tactic known as reconciliation. Given their slim majority in the U.S. Senate, Republicans would likely fail to achieve the 60 votes necessary to advance legislation under regular order. However, the budget reconciliation process would allow Republicans to pass legislation with only 51 votes.

The bottom line is that 2017 is poised to be a whirlwind year, with many AAO-HNS priorities potentially addressed and/or referenced in the context of broader healthcare- related dialogue. To remain current on these and other issues impacting the specialty, AAO-HNS Members are encouraged to join the ENT Advocacy Network by emailing govtaffairs@entnet.org. For information regarding the Academy’s legislative advocacy efforts and priorities, contact legfederal@entnet.org.