The Senate has scheduled a vote on Monday to consider H.R. 4302, the Protecting Access to Medicare Act, which was approved last week by the House by a voice vote. The bill provides a one-year extension on Medicare physician payments, and includes health care extenders such as ambulance add-on payments and the Medicare-dependent hospital program, and a delay of ICD-10 code implementation. Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR), however, is still hoping to address long-term relief through his SGR reform bill, S. 2110, the Medicare SGR Repeal and Beneficiary Access Improvement Act of 2014. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) negotiated the patch legislation directly with House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), and intends to continue work on SGR reform after moving the doc fix this week.
The House is also expected to vote this week on H.R. 2575, the Save American Workers Act of 2013. The bill would change the definition of a full-time employee from thirty to forty hours for purposes of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandate for employers to provide health care coverage for employees.
This Week’s Hearings:
- Tuesday, April 1: The House Committee on Energy and Commerce has scheduled a hearing titled “Examining Concerns Regarding FDA’s Proposed Changes to Generic Drug Labeling.”
- Wednesday, April 2: The House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense has scheduled a hearing on “Defense Health Program.” The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing on “Human Tissue: Improvements Needed for Veterans Safety.” The Senate Committee on Appropriations Labor HHS Subcommittee has scheduled a hearing on the NIH FY 2015 Budget Request.
- Thursday, April 3: The House Committee Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health has scheduled a hearing on H.R. 3717, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2013. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), and would improve access to and delivery of psychiatric care, enhance treatment capacity, and encourage research and innovation in treating mental illness. The Senate Committee on Appropriations Agriculture, Rural Development, and FDA Subcommittee has scheduled a hearing on the FDA FY 2015 Budget Request.
The Medicare Payment and Advisory Commission (MedPAC) will hold a public meeting on Thursday and Friday, April 3-4. Agenda items include the following:
- Impact of home health payment rebasing on beneficiary access to and quality of care;
- Team-based primary care;
- Per-beneficiary payment for primary care;
- Measuring quality of care in Medicare;
- Beneficiary choice and decision-making; and
- Measuring the effects of medication adherence for the Medicare population.