POLICY BRIEFINGS


Hart Health Strategies provides a comprehensive policy briefing on a weekly basis. This in-depth health policy briefing is sent out at the beginning of each week. The health policy briefing recaps the previous week and previews the week ahead. It alerts clients to upcoming congressional hearings, newly introduced bills, regulatory announcements, and implementation activity related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and other health laws.


THIS WEEK'S BRIEFING - APRIL 7, 2014


President Signs Temporary "Doc Fix" Legislation into Law


Last week the Senate took action to pass the House-passed bill H.R. 4302, the “Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014,” and the President signed the legislation into law (Public Law 113-93). The Senate rejected unanimous consent requests to first consider the long-term sustainable growth rate (SGR) reform bills authored by Senators Wyden (D-OR) and Hatch (R-UT). As passed by the House and approved by the Senate without amendment, the bill delays the consideration of long-term Medicare SGR reform into the next congress while providing for a 0.5% increase in physician reimbursement rates through calendar year 2014. The law also extends to March 31, 2015, the exceptions process for outpatient therapy caps.


House Budget Committee Bill Would Repeal PPACA


The House Budget Committee voted along party-lines to pass H.Con.Res. 96, the “Path to Prosperity” fiscal year (FY) 2015 budget blueprint, which will be taken up in the House this week. Among the key features which the committee says would balance the budget over ten years, the bill would: cut spending by $5.1 trillion over the period using “dynamic” scoring; retain the FY 2015 $1.014 trillion federal spending level adopted in the Bipartisan Balanced Budget Act; repeal the major portions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), block grant Medicaid and allow new Medicare beneficiaries in 2024 and beyond to elect into a “premium support” system which in the aggregate is estimated to save about $3 trillion over ten years; and reform the tax code. Keeping on the budget theme, the House also passed, mainly along partisan lines, the “Pro-Growth Budgeting Act” (H.R. 1874) which would require the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to use “dynamic scoring” to estimate the effect of “major” bills defined as having a budgetary impact of at least 0.25% of gross domestic product (GDP) in any fiscal year. Specifically, the bill requires committee reports to include CBO estimates of a bill’s effects on such economic indicators as GDP, business investment, capital stock, employment, interest rates and labor supply, as well as its fiscal impact, including changes in tax revenues. On Monday the House is also scheduled to take up H.R. 1871, the “Baseline Reform Act,” which would amend the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act to revise the formula for calculating the baseline for discretionary spending for the budget year and each out-year to eliminate adjustments for: (1) expiring multiyear subsidized housing contracts; (2) administrative expenses of the Federal Hospital Insurance (Medicare Part A) Trust Fund, the Supplementary Medical Insurance (Medicare Part B) Trust Fund, the Unemployment Trust Fund, and the Railroad Retirement account; (3) offsets to federal employees’ annual pay; and (4) certain inflators used to adjust budgetary resources in the Act. The bill would also require the CBO to report to the congressional budget committees, on or before July 1 of each year, the Long-Term Budget Outlook for: (1) the fiscal year commencing on October 1 of that year, and (2) at least the ensuing 40 fiscal years. Later in the week, the House is scheduled to take up H.R. 1872, the Budget and Accounting Transparency Act, which among other things would require the President’s budget from FY 2017 onward to reflect the costs of direct loan and loan guarantee programs on a fair value basis.



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SERVICES




BRIEFING ARCHIVE


 -  2017


 +  2016


 +  2015


 +  2014


 +  2013


 +  2012


 +  2011