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.


Senate Postpones Budget Markup

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Michael B. Enzi (R-Wyo.) announced that he was postponing a markup of a fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget resolution last week and confirmed that the Budget Committee will miss the April 1 statutory target to report a budget out of committee. This indicates that Republicans will likely forgo a budget resolution and instead compile appropriations bills in accordance with the discretionary spending levels established in last year’s two-year budget agreement. The budget agreement allows Sen. Enzi to file a spending allocation for the Appropriations Committee to begin markup of appropriations bills without passage of a budget resolution any time after April 15 but no later than May 15. The allocation would reflect the spending limits of the budget deal. Democratic appropriators are urging their colleagues to begin work on passing individual spending bills. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has repeatedly said that the passage of 12 individual spending bills is a goal for Republicans this congress, though this could prove difficult given the election year’s abbreviated legislative calendar. Meanwhile, House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas), Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and other authorizing committee chairmen have begun releasing details of a package of mandatory program spending cuts should the House decide to go forward with a FY 2017 budget resolution. Together, the bills would cut more than $40 billion in spending. The Ways and Means Committee will work to advance tax-related provisions to cut down on improper payments, including those from Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies. The Energy and Commerce Committee will consider five bills which include provisions such as the elimination of the Prevention and Public Health Fund and scaling back of the federal match for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The statutory target for both chambers to adopt a budget resolution is April 15. 

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