Friday, March 24, 2017


The House never voted on the American Health Care Act. The House leadership with the President's consent pulled the bill from the floor because the Republicans were not able to assemble the necessary votes.  The Wall Street Journal reports this afternoon that the House Speaker Paul Ryan (R WI) conceded that 
We're going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future," though he argues that replacing it would actually have done a favor to Democrats.  He says that tax reform will move forward, even though the plan has been complicated by the Obamacare taxes remaining in place.
The Journal further reports that
Going forward, [President] Trump said he would seek bipartisan support for a bill to overhaul the health-care system, saying that would be “the ultimate” and drawing a contrast with the Affordable Care Act, which he said was “rammed down everyone’s throat” with only Democratic support.
Also today, a three judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit heard oral argument in the Anthem / Cigna appeal of the district court decision blocking their merger agreement from closing. The Wall Street Journal reports
A federal appeals court panel on Friday asked tough questions of health insurer Anthem Inc., which is attempting to salvage its proposed $48 billion acquisition of Cigna Corp. after a trial judge blocked the combination as anticompetitive.
The Anthem appeal, which took place in front of a large crowd at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, was surprisingly lively—and lengthy—as three judges said the case presented novel and difficult issues.
“We haven’t had a case like this,” Judge Brett Kavanaugh said.
The session was supposed to last for 40 minutes; the judges instead asked questions for about two hours.
That's an engaged panel. This case was expedited so that the panel could issue its decision before the Anthem - Cigna merger agreement's termination date - April 30, 2017.

Over the weekend, the FEHBlog will share some bon mots from the FEHBP carrier conference. Nothing earthshaking occurred but some useful tidbits were shared by the speakers.

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