Pared-Down Reconciliation Deal in the Works
Next steps for reconciliation are coming into focus. Last week Senator Manchin (D-WV) announced that, at the current time, he would only be willing to accept a reconciliation deal that is exclusively focused on Medicare prescription drug pricing negotiation and a two-year extension of the Marketplace Advanced Premium Tax Credits. Democratic leaders, including President Biden, have signaled support for the pared-down reconciliation package. Majority Leader Schumer has already sent the reconciliation prescription drug pricing provisions to the parliamentarian for review. It is reported that the parliamentarian will meet with Senate staff this Thursday, which means we may not know what could be in a drug pricing provision before next week. However, a final agreement may not make it to the Senate floor until the first week of August. This means the House will likely be called back into session to consider the reconciliation bill after that. Of course, many questions remain. Is there room for more policies than just prescription drugs and Affordable Care Act subsidies? Will House Democrats coalesce around this smaller fragment of what was Build Back Better? To the latter question, it appears that Democrats will support the smaller package. For now.
The 988 National Suicide Prevention Hotline is up and running. In 2020, the National Hotline Designation Act (Public Law 116-172) was passed and signed into law, officially designating 988 as the new mental health crisis and suicide prevention number. This new three-digit number replaced the existing 10-digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline hotline and became accessible for both phone calls and text communications beginning July 16, 2022, from any mobile phone, landline or internet device. The US Department of Health and Human Services will hold an implementation call today. To register for the call, please click here.