Legislative Activity

Health reform provisions continue to impede resolution of the continuing resolution (CR) and an end to the government shutdown. With support from the Administration, Senate Democrats insist they will only consider a clean CR without Affordable Care Act (ACA) defunding or delay provisions. The Senate has also refused to take up a bill funding the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which the House approved last week with a handful of other smaller funding bills.

A six-month CR proposal was introduced last week that includes a repeal of the ACAs medical device tax; what sets this proposal apart from the others is that the proposal has bipartisan support as well as an offset for the device tax repeal. Reps. Ron Kind (D-WI) and Charlie Dent (R-PA) are leading the effort, and are using an extension of a provision from the 2012 surface transportation law that stabilizes contributions to single-employer pension plans as the offset.

As the shutdown continues with little progress made on negotiations, October 17 could become a new deadline with a plan emerging to attach government funding to a debt ceiling deal.

This Week

Schedules remain tentative during the shutdown and previously scheduled hearings that have been postponed may be added when the government reopens:

  • Tuesday, October 8: The Senate Committee on Finance has scheduled a hearing titled “Transforming Medicare Post-Acute Care: Issues and Options.”
  • Wednesday, October 9: The House Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Health and Technology has scheduled a hearing titled “The Effects of the Health Laws Definition of Full-Time Employee on Small Business.”
  • Thursday, October 10: The House Committee on Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health has scheduled a hearing titled “Between Peril and Promise: Facing the Dangers of VAs Skyrocketing Use of Prescription Painkillers to Treat Veterans.”

Regulatory Activity

HHS Shutdown Plan

In advance of the government shutdown, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released their contingency staffing plan that highlights which programs are expected to continue without disruption and others which would see interruption in services.