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.


House Approves Ryan FY 2015 Budget Resolution

Before recessing until the week of April 28, the House voted 219-205 to pass H.Con.Res. 96, the fiscal year (FY) 2015 ten-year budget resolution crafted by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI). Using “dynamic” scoring, the resolution is said to cut $5 trillion in spending over the FY 2015-24 period, including $791 billion in non-defense discretionary spending below the levels enacted under the Budget Control Act. In general, the measure would repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) while retaining the law’s cuts to Medicare. The resolution, expected to die after the House’s action because Senate Democrats say they will not adopt a budget resolution, would also block grant Medicaid, increase Medicare premiums for higher-income beneficiaries and transition Medicare into a so-called “premium support” system. Democrats voted along party lines with the Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) calling the Republican’s “Path to Prosperity” a “road to recession”. The House also passed 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 certain adjustments, including for administrative expenses of the Federal Hospital Insurance (Medicare Part A) Trust Fund and the Supplementary Medical Insurance (Medicare Part B) Trust Fund. In addition, the House passed 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.

Appropriations Actions

The House Appropriations Committee adopted interim allocations for the FY 2015 Military Construction/Veterans Administration (VA) and legislative branch appropriations, apparently waiting until the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scores the Administration’s budget to adopt 302(b) allocations for the other ten appropriations subcommittee bills. The committee then approved the $165 billion FY 2015 Military Construction/VA bill which provides for a total of $158.2 billion in spending for the VA ($64.7 billion of which is for discretionary programs).

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