While the Senate continues to work on its version of health care reform legislation, the American Health Care Act of 2017 (AHCA), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has been busy streamlining and de-regulating current processes under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

On May 16, CMS released a Checklist for Section 1332 Innovation Waiver Applications. The checklist is intended to help states seeking waivers from requirements of the ACA to establish high-risk pools/state-operated reinsurance programs. A Section 1332 Innovation Waiver allows states to opt-out of certain mandates of the ACA if a state can demonstrate the waiver will provide residents of the state with access to high quality health care while maintaining basic ACA protections, including providing comprehensive and affordable coverage to state residents. Waivers cannot increase the federal deficit.

On May 17, CMS announced that for the upcoming enrollment period, consumers signing up for individual market coverage through Exchanges will be allowed to sign up for coverage directly from a broker or insurer website and will no longer be redirected to HealthCare.gov to complete their enrollment applications.

On May 18, Democratic Attorney Generals from the states of California, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington, and the District of Columbia filed a motion to intervene in U.S. House of Representatives v. Price, a lawsuit originally brought by House Republicans to block the ACA’s cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers for low-income exchange plan members. The Attorney Generals claim that the Trump administration is not adequately defending the payments in court in an attempt to “explode” the ACA.

The US Senate Finance Committee unanimously passed the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act of 2017 and advanced the bill to the full Senate for vote. The Act would expand Medicare coverage of telehealth services, most notably those telehealth services provided through accountable care organizations and telehealth in association with home dialysis services. A copy of the bill can be found here.

As previously reported, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will release its score of the AHCA as passed by the House this week, likely Wednesday.

Finally, on Tuesday the Trump administration reportedly will roll out its FY 2018 budget proposal, which is anticipated to include significant cuts to Medicaid program spending.