W3vina.COM Free Wordpress Themes Joomla Templates Best Wordpress Themes Premium Wordpress Themes Top Best Wordpress Themes 2012

Tag Archive | "Health Care Reform"

Capital Thinking Podcast

Given recent resignations and a death, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi needs 217 votes to pass the Senate bill. The whip count in the House remains close.  Congressman Joseph Cao, the only Republican who voted in favor of the House health care reform legislation, is not expected to lend his support to passage of the Senate bill. Representative Bart Stupak and other anti-abortion Democrats, who authored the language in the House package to prohibit individuals from using federal subsidies to purchase plans in the exchange that cover elective abortions, have been vocal that they will not support the Senate package. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has suggested that the White House may strike a deal with the Congressman to address his concerns in a separate bill in exchange for support on the Senate bill. Although President Obama may be ready to move health care reform forward without Republican support, he must ensure that Congressional Leaders can rally Democrats.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that the President wants the House to pass the Senate bill before March 18.  House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, however, suggested that Congress could finish health care reform within the next two months. House and Senate Leadership had hoped to send a reconciliation bill to the Congressional Budget Office to be scored.

Meanwhile, last week, the Senate turned to a jobs package and tax extenders legislation, both which contain short-term fixes or extensions of expiring Medicare provisions. The Senate passed and the President signed into law H.R. 4691, the “Temporary Extension Act of 2010.” The legislation includes an extension of the Medicare physician fee fix as well as an extension of the therapy caps exceptions process through March 31, 2010.

When the Senate convenes today, it will resume consideration of the tax extenders package. The legislation is expected to pass this week with the Baucus substitute amendment, which extends the physician fee fix through the end of the year. The substitute amendment also includes a number of Medicare extenders that were included in the Senate-passed “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”

Representative Charlie Rangel took a temporary leave of absence as the Chairman of House Ways and Means Committee as the House Ethics Committee ruled that he broke ethics rules by accepting trips to the Caribbean. An investigation into claims of tax evasion and failure to report income from rental properties continue.  Michigan Congressman Sandy Levin will serve as Acting Chairman.

Posted in Capital Check-Up, Podcasts, ReformComments Off on Capital Thinking Podcast

Tick Tock – Has Time Run Out for Health Reform?

During his State of the Union address, the President did not give any insight into the best path forward for moving comprehensive health care reform. Congress continues to mull over how to pass legislation, and reform advocates are holding out hope that Members can refocus and revive the debate. Meanwhile, it has become clear that creation of new jobs will be the President’s number one priority in 2010.

The New York Times reports that Democrats are considering splitting up the bill and moving smaller pieces separately but Politicoconfirms that option may not be a simple and expeditious process.

The Washington Post reports that Democrats are still contemplating on how to proceed but lawmakers remain steadfast in their commitment to passing legislation and maintain that reconciliation is still on the table.  We anticipate that Democratic leaders will continue to caucus over the next couple of weeks to work on developing a sustainable path forward.

In other health news, while the Democrats still maintain a filibuster proof majority before Republican Senator-elect Scott Brown is seated, the Senate managed to pass a resolution that increases the debt ceiling to $14.3 trillion, which greases the wheels for a potential five-year Medicare physician payment fix that would be exempt from the pay-as-you-go rules.  Congress is still required to pass legislation to stop the 21 percent cuts from going through on March 1, 2010.

Posted in Legislation, ReformComments Off on Tick Tock – Has Time Run Out for Health Reform?

Capital Thinking Radio Show

CT_radio1 Join us this week on Capital Thinking this week as host Kevin O’Neill examines the political impact of the recent House approval of the most sweeping piece of social legislation in decades. John Jonas and Martha Kendrick provide strategic analysis of the bill and what to expect next.

Tune in every Thursday at NOON EST and 9:00 am PST on VoiceAmerica Business

Posted in Legislation, ReformComments Off on Capital Thinking Radio Show

Still Going for Gold

In hopes of moving health care reform, President Obama has taken a more active role in the debate. Earlier this week, the President released his proposal for reform, which is mostly additive to or revisionist of the Senate bill. The President included several fraud and abuse provisions that were included in H.R. 3970, the “Medical Rights and Reform Act,” or H.R. 3400, the “Empowering Patients First Act.”

On Thursday, President Obama is convening a bipartisan summit with a goal of identifying compromises that will help to move health care reform legislation forward. Senate Republican Leadership has expressed disappointment in the President’s unwillingness to scrap the current health care reform bills and have suggested that an incremental approach to reform is more appropriate than comprehensive reform. The summit does not change the procedural options for moving reform legislation. Congress has two options: either move incremental reform bills or use reconciliation to pass comprehensive reform. President Obama will use the summit to build support for passage of health care reform, even if by reconciliation.

At this point, we expect Congress to move several health care provisions separate from health care reform, including a physician fee fix, repeal of the insurance antitrust exemption, and a package of health extenders and use reconciliation to pass comprehensive reform.

Posted in Legislation, ReformComments Off on Still Going for Gold

State of the Union Talking Points from the White House

Rescue, Rebuild, Restore – A New Foundation for Prosperity

The President is going to talk directly to the American people about restoring security for middle class families after a lost decade of declining wages, eroding retirement security and escalating health care and tuition costs. The President will talk to the American people about steps we need to take to build on the work we did this past year to bring the economy back from the brink of a depression. While the worst of the economic crisis has passed, for too many American families and businesses the wreckage remains.

He’ll call on Congress to pass a jobs bill to jumpstart private sector job creation with:

  • Investments in small businesses;
  • Investments in Green Jobs and clean energy;
  • Investments in road, bridge, rail and port projects; and
  • Policies to spur more exports of American manufactured products.

The President will talk to the American people about meeting the challenges that have hurt middle class families, and those who aspire to it, by building a New Foundation of prosperity for American families and businesses.

He’ll call on Congress to pass Education reforms that transform families and strengthen the country;

He’ll call on Congress to pass meaningful Financial Reforms that hold Wall Street accountable, makes sure no bank is ever too big to fail and provide clear rules of the road that give the American consumer the clear information they need to make financial decisions;

He’ll call on Congress to enact Energy Reform that creates the jobs of tomorrow, increases our energy independence and reduces pollution;

He’ll call on Congress to enact fiscal reform that recognizes that the deficits and debt exploded the last decade before the President took office.

He’ll propose measures to deal with the costs of bringing the economy back from the brink of a depression and call on Congress to engage in the bi-partisan work required to address the debt that was accumulated in the last decade.

He’ll ask Congress, Democrats and Republicans, to continue the work on health reform.

He’ll remind all members that premiums will continue to rise; businesses will continue to drop coverage and more families will deal with insurance company abuses if we don’t act.

The President will also speak directly to the American people and to Congress about changing the way business is done in Washington so that the American people know that their interests always come before the special interests.

He’ll call for more transparency so that the public is always aware of what’s being done on their behalf. The President will talk about his efforts to better protect the American people. After inheriting two wars and a growing terrorist threat, he will review the steps that he has taken to increase the pressure on al Qaeda, and refocus on Afghanistan. He will discuss the progress made in carrying out his plan to end the war in Iraq. And he will announce a new plan to protect the American people from bio-terrorism and infectious disease.

The President has renewed America’s alliances and standing in the world. He will preview the progress that we are poised to make as we near completion of a landmark arms control agreement with Russia, and prepare to host a Nuclear Security Summit in April that will rally the world behind the goal of securing all loose nuclear materials. He will also speak about America’s leadership on issues like global economic growth, climate change, and human rights.

For over a decade, American families have been working harder and falling further behind. As college become less affordable; retirement savings become less secure; home values plummet; health insurance premiums and co-pays eat into wages and the cost of living explodes, the standard of living for American families continues to decline.

While they meet their responsibilities and play by the rules, they have seen the special interests and those with political access in Washington get farther and farther ahead. Rather than seeing policies that encourage responsible behavior, American families have too often seen Washington reward irresponsibility while passing on debt to future generations.

The President will talk about the need for change that the American people want and expect. For a decade, American families and businesses have experienced an erosion of the economic security that has been at the core of our prosperity. Tonight the President will lay out his vision on what steps are required to restore that security and how Washington should do its work in a way that reflects the best of our people and our democracy.

Posted in ReformComments Off on State of the Union Talking Points from the White House

Capital Thinking Podcast

After a solemn week in the House of Representatives devoted to recognizing and remembering the victims of the Arizona shootings, the White House has instructed that Congress get back to work and on with its legislative business.  Therefore, Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced that the House will resume “thoughtful consideration” of the health care reform repeal bill this week.  Beginning Tuesday, seven hours of debate will be allowed on the bill with the final vote to occur on Wednesday.  The rules will also allow for one Democratic amendment by Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) that would provide for a permanent fix to Medicare’s sustainable growth rate formula, preventing dramatic cuts in physician reimbursements under Medicare.  Congressional Democrats were vocal in their opposition to the repeal bill, noting that it would eliminate important consumer protections, leave millions without insurance, and add to the deficit. Preliminary analysis by the Congressional Budget Office supported this position by determining that repealing the overhaul bill would cost $230 billion over ten years.  It is largely expected to pass due to the Republican majority, but will likely not gain any traction in the Senate.  On Thursday, House Republicans plan to bring up their bill instructing the committees to draft replacement legislation.  Committee organization is also expected to resume, and announcements on Democratic Members’ placement on Committees and subcommittees should be announced this week.

Analysis from the Institute of Medicine’s public meeting last week on what constitutes the definition of “essential benefits” is expected to be a hot topic.  The health reform law required that the IOM analyze and develop criteria for a definition of benefits that all plans sold through an insurance exchange will have to offer.  The IOM will likely publish a report of its findings in September.  However, the process is still in its early stage.  The Bureau of Labor and Statistics is required to find out what the typical employer-sponsored health plan covers, while the Department of Health and Human Services will ultimately determine the final definition.

Last week the Medicare Payment and Advisory Commission (MedPAC) finalized its recommendations for its upcoming March report to Congress.  Of note, the Commission voted to recommend to Congress that inpatient and outpatient Medicare hospital payments rise by 1 percent in fiscal 2012, that payment rates under the physician fee schedule should increase by one percent, and backed a first-ever co-pay for home health care services, despite concerns about the financial burden it might affect beneficiaries.  Chairman Glenn Hackbarth noted that there is ample evidence that the use of co-pays deter over-use of a service. Home health use has increased by 50 percent since 2001 and Medicare spent $19 billion on home health services in 2009. 

Finally, it is also important to note that the National Quality Forum (NQF) has opened a Call for Nominations for organizations and individual subject matter experts to serve on the advisory workgroups of the Measure Applications Partnership (MAP).  MAP will provide recommendations to the Department of Health and Human Services on selecting measures for public reporting and performance-based payment programs.

The multistakeholder workgroups will advise the MAP Coordinating Committee on quality issues and the use of measures to encourage improvement for specific care settings, care providers, and patient populations.  Although the workgroup structure will need to be flexible to respond to the needs of HHS, NQF anticipates the potential for as many as four advisory workgroups in the following areas: clinician, hospital, post-acute care/long-term care, and dual eligible beneficiaries. All nominations must be submitted by Monday, February 7, at 6:00 pm ET.

Posted in PodcastsComments Off on Capital Thinking Podcast

HHS Regulations on Grandfathered Health Plans

The Department of Health and Human Services released the Interim Final Rules for Relating to Status as a Grandfathered Health Plan under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Posted in ReformComments Off on HHS Regulations on Grandfathered Health Plans

The Impact of Health Reform on Employers

After months of debate and considerable political maneuvering, President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590/P. L. 111-148) into law on March 23, 2010. On March 30, 2010, the President signed into law the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4872/P. L. 111-152), which makes select changes to H.R. 3590.

Together, these laws are designed to expand health insurance coverage to 32 million Americans who are currently uninsured, while reining in rapidly-growing health care costs. Health care spending is the fastest growing line item in the federal budget. Health care premiums have doubled in the last decade and have been an increasing burden to employers and employees, as well as state and local governments. This memorandum details the impact of the newly-enacted health reform laws on employers.

Posted in ReformComments Off on The Impact of Health Reform on Employers

Regulations Released Regarding Dependent Coverage of Children to Age 26

The IRS, Department of Treasury, Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of Labor, and Department of Health and Human Services released interim final rules for group health plans and health insurance issuers relating to dependent coverage of children to age 26. 

The interim final rules are effective 60 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register (May 13, 2010).  Comments on the rules are due 90 days from the date of publication.

Posted in ReformComments Off on Regulations Released Regarding Dependent Coverage of Children to Age 26

Capital Thinking Podcast

Health Care Reform Regulations

This week, the Health Resources and Services Administration will publish notice to establish a rulemaking committee. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires the Administration to establish a methodology and criteria for designation of medically underserved populations and primary care health professions shortage areas.  The rulemaking committee will work to reach consensus among technical experts and stakeholders on an interim final rule on the methodology and criteria.

The interim final rules for group health plans and health insurance issuers related to dependent coverage of children to age 26 is currently under review at the Office of Management and Budget. The interim final rule is expected to be one of several forthcoming rules required under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

House Appropriations Chairman Announces Retirement

Last week, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey announced his retirement.  He served as the Chairman of the full Committee and the Labor-Health and Human Services Subcommittee. Rep. Norm Dicks of Washington is expected to serve as Chairman of the full committee. Rep. Nita Lowey of New York, the second ranking Democrat on the Labor-HHS Subcommittee, or Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, Chairwoman of the Agriculture Subcommittee, will likely serve as the Labor-HHS Subcommittee Chairwoman upon Chairman Obey’s retirement.

Medicare Physician Fee Fix 

Congress has three work weeks prior to adjourning for Memorial Day recess. With the physician fee fix set to expire on May 31, the House is posed to move an extenders bill that would include an extension of the Medicare physician fee fix. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer stated that the House would act within the next two weeks. If the cost of the extenders package is not offset, we expect that the Senate will not be able to move the legislation. In the midst of the financial reform debate, several Senators have been working on an extenders package, which would also prevent the drastic Medicare physician payment cuts from going into effect.

Posted in Capital Check-Up, Podcasts, ReformComments Off on Capital Thinking Podcast