Week ahead: Lawmakers tackle expiring healthcare policies


Lawmakers also have a slew of spending bills to pass to keep the government running past Sept. 30, even if the divided Congress will likely end up passing a short-term package and delaying hard decisions until after the election.

The Senate Appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over the FDA on Thursday will hear testimony from Commissioner Margaret Hamburg regarding her agency’s $4.5 billion request for FY 2013, a $650 million increase over this year’s budget.

Finally, lawmakers are still working behind the scenes to strike a deal on the deficit and prevent an automatic 2 percent cut to Medicare provider payments on Jan. 1. The latest short-term “doc fix” to scheduled Medicare cuts also expires at the end of the year.

On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee will mark up medical malpractice legislation capping non-economic damages at $250,000. The House last month passed a similar bill that also nixed the healthcare reform law’s cost-cutting panel, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). The bill being marked up Tuesday doesn’t include the IPAB repeal but would allow the committee to score $39 billion in savings and help it meet the requirements of Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAs new Congress begins, federal-state connections are as important as ever Trump once asked Paul Ryan why he couldn’t be ‘loyal': book AEI names Robert Doar as new president MORE’s (R-Wis.) budget.

On Wednesday, the House Small Business Committee holds a hearing on taxes on the horizon. And the Senate Special Committee on Aging holds a hearing on “The future of long-term care: Saving money by serving seniors.”

Finally, on Thursday, the Senate HELP Committee holds a hearing on the impact on worker safety of delays in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s process for setting standards.

Off Capitol Hill, the Care Continuum Alliance holds its first-ever Capitol Caucus on Wednesday, with appearances by several lawmakers and administration officials who will address legislative and regulatory issues for wellness, prevention and care management in 2012.

The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission meets Thursday to discuss payment policies. And the Advanced Medical Technology Association holds a press call to discuss its new strategic plan guiding the medical device industry’s advocacy efforts over the next three years.