This Week’s PPACA Vote
House leadership has scheduled a vote next week to ban federal subsidies from being used for abortion coverage. H.R. 7, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), is scheduled for floor consideration on Wednesday January 29, and would prohibit any federal funds from being used for health coverage that includes coverage of abortion. The bill would also prohibit abortion coverage by any health care delivered by a federal of DC facility, or by any physician employed by the federal government or the District. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) was barred from testifying on the bill earlier this month.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released the score of the House Ways and Committee’s bill to overhaul the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula and reform physician payments in Medicare. The Ways and Means bill is the least costly of the bills approved by committees of jurisdiction with a score of $121.1 billion (compared to $153.2 billion for the House Energy and Commerce Committee bill and $148.6 billion for the Senate Finance Committee bill). Members are anxious to bring SGR reform legislation to the floor before the current physician fee fix expires at the end of March, as well as before the departure of Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) who has been appointed to be the American Ambassador to China and has been a driving force behind legislative efforts. How to pay for the bill, however, remains an unresolved challenge.
This Week’s Hearings:
Tuesday, January 28: The House Committee on Ways and Means will hold a hearing on the impact of the employer mandate’s definition of full-time employee on jobs and opportunities. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will also hold a hearing titled “A Roadmap for Hackers? Documents Detailing HealthCare.gov Security Vulnerabilities.”