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.


House Budget Committee Marks Up Resolution

Last week, the House Budget Committee released their fiscal year 2017 budget resolution. The plan would reduce the deficit by $7 trillion over the next decade, while retaining the spending ceilings agreed upon in last year’s budget deal. The plan assumes an overhaul of the tax system, full repeal of the 2010 health care law, and would implement the principles of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) Medicare premium support system. The resolution was officially opposed by the House Freedom Caucus, citing that the $1.07 trillion discretionary spending level as too high. This position means that Republicans expect to lose roughly 30 to 40 votes on the floor. With 218 votes required for passage, and no Democrats expected to support the partisan budget document, passage of the resolution is unlikely. The House Budget Committee proceeded to mark up the budget resolution last week, and reported it out of committee by a vote of 20-16. The House Energy and Commerce Committee also approved a package that would cut $25 billion in health spending over the next decade by a party-line vote. The package includes provisions that would cut federal contributions to state Medicaid programs and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. It would also repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Ten Democratic amendments were offered aimed at protecting funds for various projects, but none were approved. The House Ways and Means Committee also approved a plan by party-line vote that would save $98 billion over the next 10 years through changes to the child tax credit, repealing a program that provides social services block grants to states, and requiring repayment of health care subsidies provided through the ACA’s exchanges. The measures to cut mandatory spending will be paired with the Republican budget resolution in order to garner support among the most conservative members of the party. The budget resolution will not be considered on the floor until after the spring recess. Subcommittees will begin marking up funding legislation this week, and House appropriators may begin bringing their spending bills to the floor as early as next month. The Senate has already started a two-week spring recess, and will reconvene on Monday, April 4.

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