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.


President's SOU Address on Tuesday

The President is expected to unveil his budget and jobs/competitiveness blueprint on Tuesday night during his State of the Union Address.  In a nod to the theme of “civil discourse” following the Arizona shooting, it is expected that several Republican and Democrat senators, including Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk of Illinois and Pat Toomey and Robert Casey of Pennsylvania, will sit together during the speech. 

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, who will author the new budget caps, has been tapped to deliver the Republican response.  He will be hard pressed to come up with another $100 billion in federal budget cuts for the remainder of FY 2011 as called for by the freshman Republicans.  The Republican Study Committee has recommended cuts of $80 billion and eliminating another $45 billion in stimulus funding which has gone unspent.  Even before the President’s speech, subject to a rule, the House is scheduled to take up H. Res. 38, the Reducing Non-Security Spending to Fiscal Year 2008 Levels or Less.  The first meeting of the House Appropriations Committee will occur next week to begin the showdown on spending cuts which Chairman Rodgers says will be the largest in U.S. history. 

The House is likely to further push President Obama’s directive last week requiring agency review of costly, outdated regulations by soon taking up H.R. 10, “Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act”, legislation introduced by Rep. Geoff Davis and House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith that would require a vote in Congress before any regulation with an economic impact of more than $100 million could go into effect. 

A group of House Republicans have also taken another swipe at the PPACA by proposing a plan that would prohibit any spending in 2011 to implement the law or for the DOJ to defend the law in court.  In the State of the Union Address, the President may also recommend an overhaul of the tax code which could take aim at various tax expenditures, possibly including the exemption from income for employer-paid health coverage.

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