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.


Budget and PPACA Votes Take Center Stage

This week Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he will begin discussing the process of bringing to a vote the Ryan FY 2012 budget plan passed by the House (H.Con.Res. 34). Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also promised an attempt to have the Senate vote on President Obama’s FY 2012 budget as well. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad is expected to soon move his committee’s version of the FY 2012 budget which is expected to receive a favorable vote from the Senate Democrat caucus.

With the vote to increase the federal debt limit expected by early July, the outcome of the budget debate in the Senate will serve to color the vote on the debt limit. Senator Conrad has already announced he will not vote for a long-term increase in the debt limit, absent a framework for dealing with future federal deficits and debt reduction.

Potential Republican amendments to defund the PPACA on an unrelated small business bill, S. 493, may
force Senator Reid to pull this bill from the Senate docket.

Also, the House returns to vote this Tuesday on H.R. 1213, legislation to repeal PPACA mandatory funding for state health insurance exchanges. CBO says the savings would amount to about $14 billion over ten years. On Wednesday the House takes up H.R. 3, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” which would also have an effect on the benefits under the PPACA. The House Energy and Commerce Committee is also slated to soon consider legislation to be introduced which would repeal the PPACA
requirement that states maintain current eligibility until the PPACA mandate kicks in on January 2014.

PPACA Oversight

The requested information from the White House on meetings leading up to the passage of the PPACA by House Energy and Commerce Committee Reps. Fred Upton and Joe Pitts was made public last week. In meetings held from March 9, 2009 through March 18, 2010 White House Deputy Chief of Staff Nancy-Ann DeParle and other health reform staff met over one hundred times with numerous representatives of key health industry groups such as the AMA, the AHA, the pharmaceutical industry, unions--including the SEIU, AFL-CIO, etc., AARP and other organizations. While the Republican House questioned the meetings as “secret negotiations,” the White House responded that the Administration took unprecedented steps to engage the American people leading up to the historic reform law. Also,
House Republicans continue to pressure AARP to provide additional information on their tax and insurance operations even as AARP ramps up its opposition to Republican efforts to defund the
PPACA and block grant Medicaid.

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