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 - DECEMBER 22, 2014


Senate Clears Final Legislation Before Adjourning Sine Die


Before adjourning until January 6, 2015, the Senate sent to the President for his signature the following bills previously passed by the House: H.R. 5185, the EARLY Act Reauthorization of 2014, legislation which reauthorizes through fiscal year (FY) 2019 the Young Women’s Breast Health Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young Act of 2009; H.R. 4276, to extend and modify a pilot program on assisted living services for veterans with traumatic brain injury, the Veterans Traumatic Brain Injury Care Improvement Act; H.R. 3979, the $513.4 billion National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015; and H.R. 5771, legislation extending various tax provisions through December 31, 2014. The so-called tax-extenders legislation includes the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act provision, aka H.R. 647, which will make tax-free savings accounts available for people with disabilities and their caretakers to cover qualified expenses such as education, housing and transportation. Notably, the cost of the provision is offset by prohibiting the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from allowing Medicare coverage for erectile dysfunction (ED) vacuum pumps (savings are estimated at $444 million over 10 years). Objections by retiring Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) to the content of H.R. 5059, the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, were left unresolved and the Senate left without further consideration of the House-passed bill. The legislation would have directed the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs: to provide for the conduct of annual evaluations of mental health care and suicide prevention programs of the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs; to review the terms or characterization of the discharge or separation of certain individuals from the armed forces; and to require a pilot program on loan repayment for psychiatrists who agree to serve in the Veterans Health Administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs.



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