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 on Parade in House

After returning from a week-long recess, on Monday the House Budget Committee is scheduled to vote on legislation designed to repeal and replace the automatic spending cuts the BCA mandates for this January as directed under the House-passed budget resolution.  One measure, H.R. 4966, would prevent $98 billion of the $109 billion in across-the-board cuts scheduled for FY 2013 defense and non-defense spending accounts.  A second measure, the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012, would replace the automatic cuts in part with $261 billion in reductions by, among other things:

  • repealing the PPACA Prevention and Public Health Fund; 
  • eliminating grants to states for establishing health insurance exchanges; 
  • canceling funding for consumer-governed health insurance plans, CO-OPs; 
  • eliminating scheduled bonuses to hospitals that serve low-income patients; 
  • repealing the PPACA mandated maintenance-of-effort requirements for Medicaid and SCHIP eligibility; 
  • repealing the increase in the Medicaid matching rate for U.S. territories from 55% to 50%; treducing the
  • state provider tax threshold from 6% to 5.5%; eliminating performance bonus payments to states that increase their enrollment of children in Medicaid; and 
  • placing restrictions on state medical malpractice cases along the lines of H.R. 5 as previously passed by the House.  

Both measures are expected to be sent to the House floor for a vote on Tuesday or Wednesday.  The House is also expected to take up the Commerce/Justice/Science appropriations bill, H.R. 5326.  The House Appropriations Committee is also set to mark up the Defense and Military Construction/VA appropriations bills.

Republicans Charge that PPACA Will Reduce Employer Coverage

The House Ways and Means Committee released a report finding that, of the 71 Fortune 100 companies surveyed, the firms could save $28.6 billion in 2014 by eliminating coverage for their 5.9 million employees.  The savings would amount to about $4,821 per employee, despite the $2,000 penalty that employers would pay to eliminate their group health plans.  Democrats responded that the survey did not indicate that the companies would actually drop their employment-based health plans.

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