With the shutdown behind us, debt ceiling lifted and the government reopened, attention now turns to budget negotiations. The continuing resolution (CR) compromise passed Wednesday included a December 13 deadline for a bicameral conference committee to reconcile the House- and Senate-passed budget legislation. While the shutdown agreement included only minor health care provisions (certification of the exchange subsidy verification process), budget negotiations will undoubtedly bring a renewed focus on entitlement spending and potential cuts to health programs.
In an interesting follow-up to the controversial back and forth of Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions in the CR, a group of Senate Democrats introduced an ACA-fix bill to clarify the definition of Indian under the health reform law. Sens. Mark Begich (D-AK), Max Baucus (D-MT), Tom Udall (D-NM), Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Al Franken (D-MN) introduced the bill to address inconsistencies in the definitions relating to Native Americans in order to clarify eligibility and coverage.
Wednesday, October 23: The Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing on long-term care.
Thursday, October 24: The House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing on implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and its challenges since the opening of the health insurance exchanges on October 1.