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.


Dueling Budget Plans

The President has gone on the offensive to criticize the House-passed Ryan FY 2012 budget resolution, stating that the plan is “fairly radical” in turning Medicare into a “premium support” program for those under age 55 and in turning Medicaid into a state grant program.  HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that changing Medicare into a premium support voucher program would not address growing health care costs and would be a “move backwards.”  Republicans responded with their own fusillade criticizing the Obama budget as lacking specific details on entitlement programs. 

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton and House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp sent a letter to the President stating that they intend to look at all Medicare reform proposals but want more information about the savings estimates in the President’s plan.  They also asked for more information about how the President’s proposal to strengthen the IPAB would affect Medicare payment policies for providers in 2014 and whether it would result in changes to the Medicare benefit package.  They also sought additional information on how the President’s proposal would affect Medicare Part D. 

With the looming vote to increase the national debt limit, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the vote should take place within days of July 8, partisans in Congress say they need to have an agreement on some sort of structure to trim federal deficits.  The fact that Standard and Poor’s downgraded the U.S. debt outlook from “stable” to “negative” may give Republicans leverage to gain some sort of advantage to tie the debt limit increase to spending caps or other deficit reduction measures.  In related news, CRS released a report stating that while the Ryan budget plan would clearly repeal the individual mandate, the small business tax credits, the high risk pools, the early retiree subsidies, the excise tax on “high-cost” plans, and the long-term care CLASS Act, the budget plan is too vague to determine the budget plan disposition of various other parts of the PPACA.

April 25, 2011: | Page 1 Page 2 Page 3



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