Week ahead: Healthcare cuts in the spotlight as parties talk debt-ceiling hike

In other major health news, challenges to the healthcare reform law’s individual mandate get their first hearing at the appellate level on Tuesday. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., will hear arguments in both Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s lawsuit, filed the day the law was enacted, and Liberty University’s challenge, which raises First Amendment issues.

Hearings start Wednesday when the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee addresses emergency-room care. That same day, Senate appropriators will examine the National Institutes of Health budget, and their House counterparts will look at the Department of Defense’s healthcare program. Later in the afternoon, Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenators push mandatory sexual harassment training for members, staff Bipartisan group of lawmakers aim to reform US sugar program Senate panel to hold hearing on bump stocks MORE (D-Calif.), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and consumer advocates will make a renewed push for tougher insurance rate review regulations.

On Thursday, the Ways and Means Health subcommittee tackles the so-called Medicare “doc fix.” The Energy and Commerce Health panel examined proposals to prevent future cuts to physician payments this past week, suggesting Republicans are serious about tackling the longstanding issue this week despite its $298 billion price tag. 

Off the Hill, Tuesday will be a newsy day as the Heritage Foundation releases its debt plan and the Center for American Progress tackles the military’s healthcare program.