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.


Federal Spending Continued Until December 11, 2014

After the House voted 319-108 to pass H.J. Res. 124, the continuing resolution (CR) making appropriations for fiscal year (FY) 2015 until December 11, the Senate voted 78-22 to send the measure to the President for his signature. Clearing this hurdle, the House and Senate recessed for the next seven weeks to allow their members to campaign for the November 4 elections. In general, the resolution includes an across-the-board cut of 0.0554% in order to bring spending within the $1.012 trillion FY 2014 discretionary level agreed to in the Bipartisan Budget Agreement. Of note, the Department of Defense made two reprogramming requests to the congressional defense panels to obtain authority to transfer $1 billion in accord with the President’s plan involving the use of U.S. troops to provide logistical operations and training of health care workers in an effort to help arrest the spread of Ebola in Africa. The resolution also includes $30 million for the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and $58 million for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), $88 million in total, to advance the Administration’s response to the Ebola crisis. The CR does not resolve differences among Democrats and Republicans on the level of funding for HHS during the remainder of the fiscal year. House Democrat Labor/HHS/Education appropriators released a draft that would, for example, provide: the CDC with $638.4 million for efforts related to immunizations and respiratory diseases; $866.3 million for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) health workforce programs; $5.033 billion for the National Cancer Institute (NCI); $2.37 billion for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program; and $186 million for substance abuse prevention efforts within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The House Appropriations Committee chairman previously indicated his desire to pass further appropriations by means of an omnibus measure when Congress returns after the elections.

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