With both chambers returning from recess this week, attention is focused on Senate consideration of the House-passed bill to permanently repeal Medicare’s physician payment system. While the last “doc fix” expired March 31, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) indicated it would hold claims for two weeks to allow Congress to return from the district work period and resume consideration of the legislation. The Senate has until Wednesday to take action on the bill to avoid steep cuts to physicians’ reimbursement rates, though an additional short-term patch may be utilized in order to consider Senate amendments to the House-passed legislative package.
While there is concern that changing any of the House language could slow down and undermine the viability of the legislation, there are key modifications that would bolster support in the Senate. Some Democrats are advocating for a four-year funding extension for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), as opposed to the two-year extension included in the House-passed bill, and some Republicans are seeking out ways to fully offset the entire cost of the legislation.
This Week’s Hearings:
- Tuesday, April 14: The House Committee on Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions will hold a hearing titled “Five Years of Broken Promises: How the President’s Health Care Law is Affecting America’s Workplaces.”
- Tuesday, April 14: The House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense will hold a hearing titled “Defense Health Program Budget.”
- Tuesday, April 14: The House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on the individual and employer mandates in the President’s health care law.
- Tuesday, April 14: The Senate Committee on Finance will hold a hearing titled “Creating a More Efficient and Level Playing Field: Audit and Appeals Issues in Medicare.”
- Wednesday, April 15: The House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies will hold a budget hearing on Ebola.
- Wednesday, April 15: The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will hold a hearing titled “Denver VA Medical Center: Constructing a Way Forward.”
- Wednesday, April 15: The House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations will hold a hearing titled “The Continuing Threat of Neglected Tropical Diseases.”
- Thursday, April 16: The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing titled “Medicare Post Acute Care Delivery and Options to Improve It.”