Health Care Issues Poised to Take Front and Center in the 113th Congress

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Health care issues dominated much of President Obama’s first term. Even after Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA” or “health reform law”) (Pub. L. 111-148, 111-152), the Supreme Court ruling in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, 567 U.S. _____, 132 S. Ct. 2566 (2012), along with the controversy over contraceptive benefits and persistent Republican efforts in Congress to repeal and defund the law, ensured that health care was never far from the spotlight.

Congress is likely to continue aggressively tackling health care issues over the next two years. To a large extent, the fiscal challenges facing the country will drive this effort by forcing lawmakers to search for ways to reduce the deficit. In addition, PPACA will continue to play a prominent role at both the federal and state levels as lawmakers and businesses work on implementing the law’s provisions. Even non-health care issues like immigration reform could have a significant impact on the health care industry.

I. Fiscal Issues and Entitlement Reform

Control of the 113th Congress remains unchanged from the 112th, with Republicans retaining the majority in the House and Democrats controlling the Senate. This political environment makes it highly likely that Congress will remain entangled over fiscal issues, which could lead to entitlement reform as a way of reducing spending and raising revenue.

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