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 Legislative & Policy Corner

Preparing for Hill Day Visits
On Jan. 6, AMCHP hosted a webinar to provide an update on federal legislation, review how to conduct a meeting and logistics for the hill day, and how to build a relationship with a member of Congress. A recording of the webinar may be viewed here. If you haven't already done so, now is the time to send meeting requests to your members of Congress. We encourage you to schedule meetings on Tuesday Jan. 26, but you may use any free time during the conference to visit your member of Congress' office. For those persons with limited mobility, AMCHP staff is available to help you with transportation. Documents to help you with your Hill day including a map, appropriations fact sheet, state profile fact sheets and suggested talking points will be available near the AMCHP registration desk.

Appropriations Recap
Congress passed the FY2016 Omnibus Appropriations bill to fund the government through Sept. 30, 2016. We are pleased to share that the bill included a $1.2 million increase for the Title V Maternal & Child Health Services Block Grant to $638,200,000. Notably, it reversed the previously proposed cuts to the Special Projects of Regional and National Significance (SPRANS) line contained in the Senate Appropriations Committee's Labor, Health and Human Services, and Related Agencies bill earlier this year. We thank all of our members and partners for their support of sustained funding for Title V! 

Congress Sends ACA Repeal Bill to President
On Jan. 6, the House of Representatives passed a bill to repeal major parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Among other things, the bill would repeal the individual mandate, employer mandate, premium subsidies for exchange plans and Medicaid expansion. Furthermore, the bill would eliminate taxes on medical devices and so-called "Cadillac plans" as well as cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Although the president has already promised to veto the bill, congressional leaders said they were fulfilling a promise to voters to send a repeal bill to the president and plan to offer an alternative to the law over the course of the coming year. A veto override vote by Congress is expected to fail.

Health Reform Implementation

Marketplace Enrollment Numbers Remain High throughout Open Enrollment Season
Since open enrollment began on Nov. 1, more than 8.5 million consumers have signed-up for health coverage through the HealthCare.gov platform or had their coverage automatically renewed. Of these 8.5 million enrollees, 29 percent are new consumers selecting plans on the marketplace for the very first time. The plan selection period is open until Jan. 31, 2016. Enrollments or application changes made between Jan. 16 and Jan. 31 will take effect Mar. 1, 2016. To connect with a navigator organization near you, visit the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Eligible individuals can enroll in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) year round. Visit healthcare.gov to get covered!

Administration Issues Executive Actions on Mental Health, Gun Violence
More than 4 million Americans have been the victim of a crime involving a gun in the last decade, including more than 20,000 children under the age of 18 who have died by a firearm. The Obama administration announced a series of executive steps aimed at curbing gun violence, including broader background checks and the hiring of additional specialists to process those checks. In addition, the White House proposed a $500 million investment to improve mental health care. In conjunction with this new funding, the Social Security Administration and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are finalizing rules to increase mental health treatment and reporting to the background check system.