Paul Ryan's decision to withhold a vote earlier this week was a smart decision, since the GOP proposal was not ready for prime time.
Now that Republicans have tabled legislative efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act—at least temporarily—the focus has shifted to one man: Tom Price.
Price, the new Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, was meant to be in charge of implementing a new healthcare policy overhaul crafted by Congress. Instead, he is faced with the task of administering the various aspects of a law he opposes.
"Tom Price is the kind of guy that you hire if you want to uproot the Affordable Care Act,” Nicholas Bagley, a University of Michigan law professor who specializes in regulatory law, told Talking Points Memo. “He’s not the guy you want if you want to make it work."
In an interview with FierceHealthcare before the GOP decided to pull the American Healthcare Act, Polsinelli Senior Policy Adviser Julius Hobson predicted that if the bill doesn’t pass, the Trump administration would “try to strangle [the ACA] to death administratively."
For example, Price has the authority to loosen the definition of which services are included in essential health benefits—though he can’t eliminate that part of the ACA entirely, The Hill noted.
In fact, the Price-controlled HHS has issued a proposed rule aimed at stabilizing the individual marketplaces that draws upon some suggestions from insurance companies, such as shortening open enrollment periods.
All hands on deck, general quarters is up and coming, very soon.
After Congress fails to repeal ACA, all eyes on Tom Price | FierceHealthcare