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.


Budget Blues

The House and Senate return to work this week, but with no announced progress during last week’s recess on any agreement on FY 2011 and FY 2012 spending levels.  House fiscal hawks continue to push the spending cuts under H.R. 1, previously passed by the House, and do not appear ready to back off the controversial riders under that measure even as they threaten to vote against another short-term CR after April 8.  House Speaker John Boehner gained enough Democrat votes to offset Republican defections on the last CR by excluding controversial riders, but will have an even tougher time to secure enough Republican votes with a House-Senate negotiated spending measure through September 30 that does not live up to the goals set under H.R. 1.  The Speaker has pledged to avoid another short-term CR, but with Senate Democrats stubbornly sticking to its earlier vote rejecting H.R. 1, it is hard to see how a government shut-down can be avoided by April 8th. 

Further complicating the House-Senate negotiations is the renewed demand by various Republicans in both the House and Senate that spending for the implementation of the PPACA be curtailed beginning this fiscal year.  However, Senator Orrin Hatch had this to say: ““I don’t think anybody’s talking about a government shutdown over health care….”  A looming vote to increase the federal debt limit will also present Congress and the President with another hurdle or stimulus, as the case may be, to achieve a bipartisan agreement on, at least, FY 2011 spending.

March 28, 2011: | Page 1 Page 2 Page 3



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