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 - OCTOBER 31, 2011


Appropriations Schedule


The current continuing resolution (CR) funding federal programs expires on November 18th setting up the need for at least one more CR to allow Congress to finish the FY 2012 appropriations process and the final votes on any plan produced by the Joint Special Committee on Deficit Reduction (Super Committee).  The CR may be attached by the House to the minibus the Senate is readying to pass this week which includes the Agriculture/FDA, Commerce/Justice/Science and Transportation/HUD spending bills, or a second minibus that is expected to include the Energy/Water appropriations for FY 2012.  The Labor/HHS/Education bill will likely be the most contentious to settle, particularly given the PPACA defunding rider the House would like to attach to this measure.


Super Committee Super Secret


If progress is being made by the panel on coming up with a minimum $1.2 trillion 10-year deficit plan by November 23, it is not apparent by any public statements made by committee members.  The Super Committee held a hearing last week during which CBO Director Doug Elmendorf testified that it would help CBO to have proposals to score this week.  The Director emphasized that discretionary cuts could be voided by future Congresses and that mandatory program spending dominates the source of future budget deficits.  Indicative of the stalled debate, Senate Democrats, led by Senator Max Baucus, offered a $3 trillion 10-year deficit reduction proposal that would raise $1.3 trillion in revenues, cut Medicare spending by $400 billion and Medicaid costs by $100 billion.  Republicans counter-offered with a $2.2 trillion plan that would avoid a tax overhaul and would instead make deeper cuts to both discretionary and mandatory spending programs.  House Speaker John Boehner criticized the level of tax increases in the Democrat plan while House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called for a “balance” in spending cuts and tax increases.  If the Super Committee fails its task, Senator John McCain pledged to derail the fallback which would trim defense spending by $600 billion over ten years.  House Speaker John Boehner could also deny passage of the fallback plan to evenly cut defense and non-defense spending by changing House rules and voiding the mandate under the Budget Control Act.  Other members and outside groups continue to urge the committee to adopt their recommendations, the latest being one by Reps. Phil Roe and Allyson Schwartz to repeal the Medicare physician payment SGR system in favor of a long-term solution to the current dysfunctional system of payments.



October 31, 2011: | Page 1 Page 2 Page 3

SERVICES




BRIEFING ARCHIVE


 -  2017


 +  2016


 +  2015


 +  2014


 +  2013


 +  2012


 +  2011