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 Releases FY 2017 Budget Request

President Obama unveiled his $4.1 trillion plan for fiscal year (FY) 2017 last week. It is the last budget request of his presidency and also his most costly. The budget request would replace sequestration with a combination of tax and spending changes the President has proposed in the past. Such changes include ending tax breaks for wealthy Americans, overhauling the immigration system, modifying payments to high-quality Medicare Advantage plans, modifying the Part B deductible, and instituting a copayment for certain home health services. These proposals would reduce the deficit by $2.9 trillion over 10 years. The budget request adheres to the discretionary spending caps modified in the October 2015 budget deal, but does propose additional mandatory funding for initiatives like the cancer moonshot. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would receive a combined $755 million in mandatory funding for this purpose. The budget would also direct $1.5 billion in new mandatory funding to combat opioid and heroin abuse over two years, and $500 million for new programs to help people with mental illness. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would receive $309 million to continue scaling up the Precision Medicine Initiative. An additional $195 million would be set aside for the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. The budget includes $877 million, an increase of $43 million over the previous fiscal year, to continue expanding the Nation’s ability to fight antibiotic resistance. The budget request also would modify the Cadillac tax on high-cost, employer sponsored health care coverage, raising the threshold for triggering of the tax in areas where health care is more costly. Additionally, it again proposes to lower the target rate for triggering the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) beginning in 2018 from gross domestic product (GDP) per capita growth plus 1 percent, to GDP per capita growth plus 0.5 percent. Congressional Republicans have dismissed the President’s budget as a nonstarter, and a decision has yet to be made on how to proceed on a FY 2017 congressional budget resolution. Hart Health Strategies Inc. prepared a compilation of key health provisions included in President Obama’s FY 2017 Budget which may be found as an appendix to this document

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