Healthcare

Week ahead: Clock ticking for Medicare deal

House Republican leaders are working to win over fiscal conservatives as they try to lock down a $200 billion Medicare reform deal.

Congress has eight working days to pass the House-led package, which would include a “doc fix,” that would eliminate the automatic cuts to physicians under Medicare.

{mosads}The current sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula — which determines how much doctors should be paid under Medicare — expires March 31.

While there has been little opposition to the proposal being negotiated by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Capitol Hill, many lawmakers say they are still waiting for more details about how leadership plans to pay for the reforms.

One-third of the $200 billion will be paid for within 10 years, but the details have yet to be revealed.

The GOP Doctors Caucus, led by Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), will hold a meeting Monday to brief newer members about the policy.

“[Roe] is working with House leaders to help educate members on the importance of permanently replacing the SGR. This particular meeting will be for the freshman and sophomore classes, as they may not be as familiar with the annual fixes to prevent large cuts,” Roe’s spokeswoman, Tiffany Haverly, said Friday.

House leaders are expected to release the big details — such as how the costs of the repeal will be offset — as early as Monday.

Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) released a bill Thursday that includes 200 pages of policy language, but said the group is still working out the “pay-fors.”

Elsewhere, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell will kick off the week with new numbers on hospital savings under an ObamaCare program that helps reduce uncompensated care.

She’ll deliver remarks alongside Virginia Democrats Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Rep. Don Beyer.

Later in the week, Pelosi is expected to join HIV/AIDS advocates at a daylong briefing to talk about how to better protect women and girls from the disease. Top HIV officials from the White House and the State Department — as well as the first lady of Rwanda — are also slated to attend.

Hundreds of advocates from the Alzheimer’s Association will also take to Capitol Hill next week to urge for more resources for research, prevention and treatment. The group will hold its national dinner Tuesday night, featuring Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), as well as CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

 

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