October 19, 2017

Cassidy Files Health Care Amendments With GOP Congressional Budget Resolution and Tax Reform

Today, US Senator Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA) filed amendments to H.Con.Res.71. These amendments will receive a vote on the senate floor tonight during the US Senate’s vote-a-rama before a final passage on the budget resolution.


Read more about the amendments below:


TAM17J25 – Creates a deficit-neutral reserve fund for legislation to increase access to, and expand the use of health savings accounts (Cosponsor- Carper)

  • HSA’s increase consumerism in the health care market, incentivizing patients to shop for the best value product.
  • HSA’s encourage saving, decreasing the likelihood of government dependence in the long-run and increasing solvency of safety-net programs.
  • As enrollment in high deductible health plans continues to grow, increased HSA availability will increase affordability of care for individuals in those plans.


TAM17J26 – Creates a deficit-neutral reserve fund for legislation to increase the ability of States to apply for and receive a 1332 waiver to act as pass-through entities for funding.


TAM17J27 – Creates a deficit-neutral reserve fund for legislation to allow States to combine waivers under section 1115 of the Social Security Act and under section 1332 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to better serve the unique needs of the populations in their States


LYN17823 – Creates a deficit-neutral reserve fund for legislation to improve the quality of care in the Medicaid program, which may include streamlining care delivery, rewarding high-quality care, increasing the ability of States to innovate, improving oversight of waste, fraud, and abuse, and improving quality metrics


TAM17J95 – Creates a deficit-neutral reserve fund for legislation to give states the ability to implement alternatives to the individual mandate and use other mechanisms for incentivizing enrollment in health insurance coverage, which may include the option of automatic enrollment in health insurance coverage (Cosponsor – Carper)

  • Experts across the political spectrum question the effectiveness of the individual mandate in incentivizing enrollment in health insurance. 
  • 79% of households paying the individual mandate had incomes under $50,000. The least able among us should not be forced to pay a penalty because they choose to forego coverage.
  • An alternative to the mandate, like auto-enroll, provides an option for states to maintain safety-net coverage, while allowing individuals who opt out of coverage to avoid being penalized.
  • Each state has a unique health care market and patient population, and should be allowed more options for governing them.


TAM17J96 – Creates a deficit-neutral reserve fund for legislation to incentivize price transparency in our health care delivery system, which may include addressing the issue of surprise medical billing, in which patients go to an in-network hospital for a procedure, but are unknowingly charged out-of-network rates due to one of the providers, such as an anesthesiologist, not being an in-network physician. (Cosponsor – Carper, Bennet, Barraso, and Young)

  • Transparency in the health care marketplace is necessary to breed competition, driving down costs and returning healthcare to operating as a functioning market.
  • By the time a patient is in treatment at an in-network facility, they likely don’t have a choice about whether one of their physicians is out-of-network. A number of policy mechanisms exist for reducing the instances and burden of surprise billing.
  • While a number of states have taken action to implement surprise billing protections, a safety net provision that does not pre-empt existing state protections such as the one in section 121 of the Patient Freedom Act, could provide certainty for patients in emergency situations.
  • As we attempt to shift away from volume based care reimbursement, greater consumer visibility into cost mechanisms will more quickly drive the health care market towards value based care.


(Amendment #1283) MCG17A02– This amendment would create a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to permanent tax relief for major disasters declared by the federal government.  Certain disaster tax relief provisions are currently provided inconsistently and only on a post hoc basis.


(Amendment #1284) FLO17677– This amendment would create a deficit neutral reserve fund dedicated to the issuance of congressionally mandated oil and gas leases on the Outer Continental Shelf. The Obama administration cancelled 2 lease sales off the coast of Alaska and an additional lease sale in the Atlantic that inhibited economic growth and potentially billions of dollars for the federal government.


(Amendment #1285) FLO17679– This amendment alters how revenue generated by offshore drilling is scored as far as federal revenue. For any new or modified OCS leases, funds that are congressional mandated to be distributed to states or localities will not be considered federal funds for the purpose of scoring.