Biocom - Life Sciences Association of California
San Diego  |   Los Angeles  |   Washington, DC  |   Tokyo
usa flag

Public Policy Newsletter

January 19, 2017

Congress Begins ACA Repeal Process
It came as no surprise that one of Congress’ first actions this year has been to set in motion the process to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Congressional Republicans have tried to repeal President Obama’s signature health law since it was signed into law in early 2010, while President Trump has made it one of his major campaign promises. 

The Senate first passed a FY2017 budget resolution on January 13 by a 51-48 vote, following 50 hours of debate and votes on hundreds of amendments, a process called “vote-a-rama.” The House passed the bill the following day by a 227-198 vote. The measure, which Congress failed to adopt last year, sets funding levels for FY2017. The resolution and its amendments are non-binding but reflect policy priorities. Most importantly, it contains instructions for a reconciliation bill that will be the vehicle to repeal the ACA. Congressional committees have until January 27 to draft legislation to repeal the ACA. Note that deadlines are often missed and a bill is more likely to be released at the end of February or beginning of March. Once the bill is released, both chambers will still have to vote to approve the measure. 

The content and timing of a replacement remain uncertain. Congressional Republicans seemed to have initially favored a “repeal now, replace later” approach, which could take years to replace the current health law. The plan has been overly criticized, even by Republicans, for putting millions of Americans at risk of losing health insurance and disrupting the market. A likely alternative would be to repeal and replace parts of the ACA almost simultaneously. Republican leaders released a policy proposal last year, “A Better Way”, that outlines parts of the law to be repealed (individual and employer mandates, federal essential health benefits, and taxes, including the medical device tax and the Cadillac tax), and what a replacement might look like (protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions if continuous coverage, possibility to buy insurance across state lines, expansion of health saving accounts, privatization of Medicare, and block grants for Medicaid). President Trump hasn’t issued any details regarding his proposal but has promised to keep Medicare as it is and address drug pricing issues.

Local Affairs
Facilities Committee to Discuss Changes to City Regulations and Costa Verde Center
To learn more and to RSVP, click here.

New City of San Diego and County of San Diego Elected Officials Take Office
New faces include Georgette Gomez (District 9), Chris Ward (District 3), and Barbara Bry (District 1). Continue reading here.

County of San Diego Hazardous Materials Division to Consider Fee Changes
The proposal will be presented at Biocom's regular EH&S Committee meeting on February 16th. For more information, click here.

Biocom Supports New SDG&E Natural Gas Pipeline
Members voted to support the proposed pipeline replacement to avoid service interruptions, improve the pipeline’s safety outlook, and upgrade to more reliable, modern technology. Read more here

Federal Affairs
New Congress and Administration Come to Washington
For more information and a list of new Members, click here.

Join Us for our 2017 Oncology Fly-In
The event provides a small group of executives with the opportunity to meet with Washington DC regulators and legislators to directly educate them about oncology and discuss new developments and policy initiatives. Click hereto learn more.  

State Affairs
Governor Releases Proposed State Budget

The proposed budget accounts for a potential slowing of the economy and uncertainties about near-term federal government action. Click here to learn more.
Upcoming Public Policy Events
Annual Biocom PAC Legislative Staff Appreciation Reception
March 14, 2017
5:00 PM
Oncology Advocacy Fly-In
April 5, 2017
4:00 PM