Week ahead: Health officials prepare budget defenses

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Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), who leads the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that governs the FDA, will deliver a speech on Tuesday at the conference.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will make two high-profile appearances on Capitol Hill on Tuesday in the House and Senate Budget committees. His exchanges with lawmakers on Obama’s 2014 budget will almost certainly touch on the document’s proposed Social Security and Medicare reforms, which have angered many Democrats.

Tuesday will see another House subcommittee hearing on the national meningitis outbreak last year that killed 53 people and sickened more than 700.

The Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will host FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg for a second time as lawmakers probe the agency’s oversight of compounding pharmacies.

The House Small Business Committee will meet Wednesday to consider how healthcare reform is affecting small businesses. The event will pay special attention to costs associated with complying with the reform law, as well as what critics say is the reform’s heavy paperwork burden.

On Thursday, the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Health hosts Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to discuss the budget. Hamburg will return to Capitol Hill that same day to discuss her agency’s budget request in the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that governs the FDA.

Elsewhere in the House, the Ways and Means subcommittee on Social Security will hold a hearing to examine entitlement reform proposals, and the Veterans Affairs subcommittee on Health will discuss patient-centered procurement reform at a morning roundtable.

Off Capitol Hill, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will hold a forum Thursday on consumer assistance efforts and how they will matter to the success of the Affordable Care Act.

Also Thursday, liberal advocacy group Families USA will release a major report on how many people will be eligible in 2014 for the law’s premium tax credits to buy health insurance.