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 - JULY 7, 2014


Appropriations and Reform of VA Health Care Access


Members return this week with little resolved in terms of finalizing all twelve fiscal year (FY) 2015 appropriations bills before the August recess or even before the end of this fiscal year. Although the House of Representatives is set to complete ten of the bills, the House Appropriations Committee has not scheduled a markup of the Labor/Health and Human Services (HHS)/Education or Interior/Environment appropriations bills which remain pending subject to a Republican leadership decision on whether to move on these bills which could attract controversial amendments. It is also unclear whether the Senate Majority Leader will give the go-ahead to Senate Appropriations Chair Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) to bring up the “minibus” including the FY 2015 Agriculture/Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Commerce/Justice/Science and Transportation/Housing and Urban Development (HUD) appropriations bills that was pulled before the July 4 congressional recess. Senator Mikulski announced her intent to bring up in committee the Department of Defense appropriations bill by next week, but she apparently remains circumspect about making further progress on the Labor/HHS/Education bill which could attract controversial amendments in the Senate. If the House and Senate conferees can reach agreement on how or whether to pay for the $44-50 billion cost of the bill, H.R. 3230, which contains provisions to reform the Veterans Health Administration system’s long waiting times and other problems, Congress could point to at least the passage of this bill in this next few weeks as a major achievement. The Senate could also soon act on S. 2449 and go to conference with the House on it’s version of the “Combating Autism” reauthorization legislation.



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