AHCA leader spreads lame-duck caution

The annual American Health Care Association's congressional briefing departed from typical dire legislative forecasts in May.

But angst was still on the menu. Clifton J. Porter II, AHCA's director of government relations, told a record crowd of 465 providers of his concern for an upcoming lame-duck session of Congress after the November election.

“We have no ‘must-pass' piece of legislation,” Porter said. “We are dealing with a seemingly calm environment, but we can't let our guard down.”

After July's Democratic convention, Porter expects legislative action to grind to a halt.  But then after the elections, look out.

“A lame-duck session can be very noxious, a very risky environment. Wacky things can happen,” he said.

With many outgoing lawmakers having nothing to fear from voters after January, their actions can be unpredictable after election day.

In a related vein, the final year of an administration can find agencies creating extra action, Porter said. There could be a push, for example, on aspects of the Affordable Care Act, which has no threat of policy reversal in 2016.