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What We're Reading: Resuming Bipartisan Health Talks; Health and Tax Reform; Blood Donations Needed


Senator Alexander Looks to Restart Bipartisan Health Reforms

With GOP leadership pulling the latest, and likely last, attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act because it lacked the votes, attention may turn back to finding a bipartisan solution. According to The Hill, Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, has expressed interest in restarting bipartisan talks to stabilize the individual insurance markets. In the weeks leading up to the release of the Graham-Cassidy bill, Alexander’s committee had convened multiple hearings on how to stabilize the marketplaces and ways to do it quickly. However, it may be too late now for any stabilization policies to have an impact on 2018 at this point.

Health Reform Will Not Be Tied to Tax Bill

GOP leadership is looking to move on from healthcare, for now. They have announced they plan to focus on tax reform next, and do not want to tie a healthcare vote to a tax bill, The Washington Post reported. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, is certain that pairing a healthcare vote with taxes would result in both causes to fail in the Senate. The Senate Finance Committee chairman has said such a move would “screw up the budget.” Meanwhile, in the House of Representatives, the conservative House Freedom Caucus sees no reason why healthcare and taxes couldn’t be worked on together.

In Search of New Blood Donors

Loyal blood donors who are getting too old to donate aren’t being replaced by enough younger donors. Kaiser Health News reported that nearly 60% of blood donations come from people older than 40 years, and new tactics are trying to get younger people involved. So far, they have been fairly successful and people aged 16 to 22 make up 20% of donations, but they cannot make up for the much lower turnout among people between the ages of 23 and 39. While the demand for blood use has dropped about one-third in the last 10 years, the drop in the number of donors has fallen faster.

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