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.


Appropriators Set To Delay FY 2014 Omnibus Bill

House and Senate appropriators were unable last week to forge a final deal on fiscal year (FY) 2014-15 appropriations matters, thus forcing negotiations to be continued this week right up to the January 15th deadline when the current continuing resolution (CR) expires. The Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Harold Rogers (R-KY), said that the House will take up legislation this week to extend the CR, probably for a week or so, to give Congress time to meet House and Senate rules for bringing up the legislation. It was reported that agreement had been reached on six of the twelve appropriations subcommittee budget lines, but leaving spending decisions on Labor/Health and Human Services (HHS)/Education and several other agencies still to be finalized. Republican budget hawks were reported to still be pushing for various policy riders, including several related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Appropriators did not disclose the decisions they have made thus far in allocating $1.012 trillion in FY 2014 replica watches spending among the federal agencies. The delay of the budget bill is also likely to push out for several weeks or more the February release of the President’s budget recommendations for future spending and revenue. While it is possible that the House could follow up on the President’s replica breitling recommendations with a Republican-inspired budget resolution, it is unlikely that the Senate will provide this avenue for Republicans to advance their agenda in this election year.

House Passes PPACA Security and Poison Center Legislation

On a vote of 291-122 (with 67 Democrats voting aye) the House passed H.R. 3811, the Health Exchange Security and Transparency Act of 2014 which Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said is designed to help address the security problems connected with the HealthCare.gov website and alert individuals when their personal information is compromised. Although the Statement of Administrative Policy (SAP) expressed opposition to the bill, it is noteworthy that it did not include the threat of a presidential veto. The House also delayed until this week the consideration of H.R. 3362, legislation that would require the U.S rolex replica watches. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue weekly reports on the status of the website. In addition, the House passed H.R. 3527, the Poison Center Network Act, under suspension of fake rolex the rules. Among other things, the bill authorizes $700,000 for the next five years for the operation of the national toll-free poison control hotline and $800,000 annually for a national media campaign.

PPACA Remains In Congressional Spotlight

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said last week that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius gave “false and misleading” testimony to the House Energy and Commerce Committee when she testified that she was not advised by any HHS official to delay the October 1st startup of the HealthCare.gov website. In this connection, he said that the then Chief Information Office of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recommended denying authority to begin such operations due to concerns about the high risk of security and other failures due to the lack of adequate testing. Rep. Issa demanded that the HHS Secretary “correct the record.” In a move clearly resulting from the problems surrounding the various failed operations of the website (including the inability of Medicaid eligible individuals to be properly enrolled), HHS will let the current contract for the website’s construction to expire next month and will replace CGI Federal with the Accenture organization which cheap replica watches was responsible for the development of the California exchange website. In addition to the above-described legislation addressing PPACA website security issues, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) said he and other Republicans will spend considerable time this year in developing legislation that would replace the health reform law. A more current issue is whether the House will push for the passage of H.R. 3803, legislation introduced by Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) that would repeal the PPACA if enrollment under the law does not meet or exceed the 7 million figure breitling replica watches uk set by the Administration as a goal by April 1st. In this connection, last week the White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, said that 7 million is not a magic number, it was the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate, and that this number will not determine the success of the law but the “mix” of the young and healthy among the enrolled will determine the law’s effectiveness.

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