What We're Reading: Challenging ACA Repeal Bill; Indiana Medicaid; VA Budget Gap

Senate Parliamentarian Weighs In on Health Bill

Since Senate Republicans are looking to repeal the Affordable Care Act through budget reconciliation, the Senate parliamentarian has to approve the bill. However, the parliamentarian has ruled that provisions of the bill violate Senate rules and cannot be made under reconciliation, reported The New York Times. Cutting off federal funds for Planned Parenthood, prohibiting the use of federal subsidies to buy insurance plans that cover abortion, and making people wait 6 months for coverage after they have had a lapse in coverage are all being challenged by the parliamentarian.

Adjusting Indiana Medicaid Proposal

After proposing to include work requirements in the state Medicaid program, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb received enough comments against the idea to change his mind a little. According to the Indy Star, the state has agreed to study whether adding a work requirement will make participants healthier as a result of their socioeconomic status improving. The state has also added to the list of people who would be exempt from the requirement, such as the chronically homeless and former foster children younger than 26 years. The proposal already excluded pregnant women, those being treated for substance abuse, the medically frail, and people older than 60 years.

Fixing the VA Budget Gap

The House of Representatives is moving to address a budget shortfall in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), but veterans’ groups are not happy with the newest plan. Veterans’ groups are saying the plan will privatize the VA by shifting $2 billion from other VA programs to continue funding a program that allows veterans to obtain care outside of the VA system, reported the Associated Press. Instead, the 8 groups are urging Congress to provide emergency funding without cutting other VA programs. The House plan would trim pensions for some veterans and collect fees for housing loans.