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 - NOVEMBER 9, 2015


Kevin Brady to Assume Ways and Means Chairmanship


Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) was chosen to replace Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee last week. Ryan stepped down as Chairman after he was elected Speaker of the House. The chairmanship was decided in a closed-door vote of the 33-member GOP Steering Committee, which determines the lawmakers that serve as committee chairmen and choose who serves on what committees. The decision was ratified by the full House Republican Conference. Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) was the only other member running for the position. Brady is a ten term congressman and held seniority over Tiberi as the number two Republican on Ways and Means, the Health Subcommittee Chairman, and a member of the Republican Study Committee. Brady received the support of Paul Ryan in the vote for Chairman. As Speaker, Ryan controlled five of the panel’s 38 votes, while Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) submitted two votes. McCarthy declined to say for whom he voted. The Ways and Means Committee is the Congressional tax-writing committee, and has jurisdiction over trade, health care, and Social Security. While Health Subcommittee Chairman, Brady helped repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR) through passage of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). He also began working on a hospital payment reform package and a post-acute care value-based purchasing pilot. The package would expand Medicare Advantage, and include language to give seniors a set amount of money to purchase health insurance coverage. It would also combine Medicare Part A and Part B. One of Brady’s first responsibilities as Chairman of full committee will be to consider the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal by early next year. He has also pledged to pursue tax reform. The Steering Committee chose Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.) to fill the opening created by Ryan’s departure from the Committee, and will have to choose a member to fill the chairman position on the Health Subcommittee. In related news, House Republicans held a special meeting to overhaul the way the Steering Committee conducts its business, with the aim of increasing the power shared by rank-and-file members of the Republican Party. Proposals would give each member of the Steering panel, including leadership, only one vote, while removing members in chairmanship positions and lower-level leadership from the Committee. The plan would expand the number of regional representatives on the Steering Committee from 13 to 20.



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