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.


Appropriations Minibus Vote Set for November 1st in Senate

The Senate, on an 82-16 vote, invoked cloture on the appropriations “minibus” legislation which includes the Agriculture/FDA bill, H.R. 2112, the Commerce/Justice/Science bill, H.R. 2596 and the Transportation/HUD bill, S. 1596. The vote on further amendments and a final vote will occur on November 1st when the Senate returns from a week-long recess. An amendment to the FDA portion of the bill, offered by Senator David Vitter, failed on a 45-55 vote. The provision would have allowed U.S. citizens to buy FDA-approved prescription drugs from Canada either in person or over the internet and ship or bring them back into the United States. The minibus could also serve as a vehicle if the House decides to attach another FY 2012 continuing resolution to the measure which would extend federal agency funding from November 18 until December 23. When it returns, the Senate will also try again to take up portions of the Administration’s JOBS Act inasmuch as efforts to pass the entire bill and a smaller measure to fund state jobs failed cloture votes. In related action, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction continued to take suggestions from the “Gang of Six” and other groups, but without making public comment on any progress that may or may not have been made to meet their fast-approaching deadline. In this connection, the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee sent a letter to several committees urging them to take action to reform the Medicare physician payment system in order to avoid the scheduled 30% cut in payments next year. The chairman said that “Our concern is that repealing the SGR will become increasingly difficult unless the Congress acts soon….”The Super Committee is scheduled to hold a public hearing this Wednesday on security and non-security discretionary spending.

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