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.


Omnibus, CRomnibus, or Another FY 2015 CR?

As members reconvene this week in an attempt to wrap up the second and final session of the 113th Congress, Republicans appear to remain undecided as to the legislative means they should employ to finish up their appropriations duties before adjourning sine die. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) publicly said “nay” to the idea floated by House Republicans for a so-called “CRomnibus” which would fund all federal activities though next September while setting up a confrontation early next over the President’s immigration policies by including a short-term spending limit on immigration-related activities. Even if such a proposal were to pass the House on a party-line vote, it would be unlikely to pass the current Democrat-held Senate and the resulting impasse could ultimately lead to another Continuing Resolution (CR) for all or nearly all of fiscal year (FY) 2015 federal spending. Complicating the process is the apparent willingness on the part of both parties to agree to all, or nearly all, of the President’s $6.2 billion request for additional funding to fight Ebola here and abroad. Unless an agreement on spending can be reached this week or next, other legislative demands, such as the possible consideration of the FY 2015 National Defense Authorization Act and various tax extensions, could force congressional leaders into extending the lame-duck session closer to Christmas. With few legislative days remaining this year, other important health-related decisions may be pushed off until early next year--e.g. the so-called “doc fix” to permanently replace the current Medicare physician payment sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula; an extension of Medicaid parity payments; an extension of payments for community health centers; an extension of loan repayment and scholarships for primary care providers who commit to serving for at least 2 years in underserved areas; and an extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Spending negotiations could result in an extension of funding for the Teaching Health Center program, but the inclusion of this provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) may complicate the narrative of many Republicans who remain true to their “repeal and replace” mantra.

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