October 21, 2014

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October 21, 2014

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Health Care Reform Update - Week of July 8, 2013

Leading the News

Employer Mandate Delayed Until 2015

On July 2nd, the Obama Administration announced that the employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will not be implemented until 2015, after the midterm elections. The notice, issued by the Treasury Department, suggests the delay will allow for additional consideration on ways to simplify employer reporting requirements. On July 3rd, Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent letters to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sebelius and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew with questions on why the ACA employer mandate now faces a delay. Critics on the Committee suggest a delay contradicts earlier statements made by officials within the Obama Administration that ACA implementation is on track. In addition, the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing to examine the decision to delay the employer mandate and the employer information reporting requirements.

Chris Jennings to Join White House as Health Policy Strategist

On July 7th, it was reported that Chris Jennings, a former Clinton Administration health policy strategist, will be joining the Obama Administration as Health Policy Coordinator and Strategist. The White House is expected to announce Jennings’ recruitment, in addition to other new health personnel, later this week. White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough commented that they are “excited to have someone with the depth of knowledge and expertise that Chris has” join the team, adding that Jennings’ will be “an invaluable addition.”

Implementation of the Affordable Care Act

On June 26th, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) wrote to HHS Secretary Sebelius with concerns over laws in Vermont and the District of Columbia that require all individuals and small businesses to purchase insurance through the state exchanges.

On June 28th, Judge Beryl Howell of the U.S. District Court for D.C. ruled against a challenge to the individual mandate of the ACA. The plaintiff suggested the individual mandate violated the Origination Clause of the Constitution, which requires revenue-raising bill to originate in the House. Judge Howell ruled that any revenue raised from the mandate is merely incidental.

On July 2nd, a report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) indicated states have received over $3.7 billion to develop ACA exchanges. About 85% of the funding has gone to states that will operate their own exchanges.

On July 4th, the Obama Administration announced the British company Serco received a contract of over $1 billion to help the government review ACA subsidy and Medicaid applications.

On July 5th, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule that addresses ACA exchange eligibility and essential health benefits within alternative benefit plans. As part of the rule, college students who attend schools that self-fund insurance plans will still be able to receive ACA subsidies for insurance.

Other HHS and Federal Regulatory Initiatives

On July 2nd, HHS released its Health IT Patient Safety Action and Surveillance Plan, which the Department hopes will make health care safer and more efficient.

On July 2nd, HHS announced 41 state agencies, community health centers, and school-based organizations in 22 states received $32 million in grants to help enroll children in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Other Congressional and State Initiatives

On July 1st, Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), Ranking Member on the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, issued a request for the IRS to reexamine hospital bond rules and encourage facilities to experiment with new payment models.

Hearings and Mark-Ups Scheduled

Senate

On July 9th, the Senate Appropriations Labor, HHS, and Education Subcommittee will hold a markup of the FY 2014 appropriations bill for the three Departments.

On July 10th, the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on reform to the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate physician payment method.

On July 11th, the full Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a markup of the FY 2014 appropriations bill for the Departments of Labor, HHS, and Education.

House of Representatives

On July 8th, the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the ACA’s impact on Medicaid.

On July 9th, the House Veterans’ Affairs Health Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the Long-Term Care Veterans Choice Act.

On July 10th, the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the delay of the ACA’s employer mandate.

 

David Shirbroun also contributed to this article. 

©1994-2014 Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. All Rights Reserved.

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About this Author

Jeremy Rabinovitz, Senior Executive Vice President of Government Relations
Senior Executive Vice President of Government Relations

Jeremy is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Washington, DC office of ML Strategies, and also serves clients as a senior strategist on a wide range of issues, including telecommunications, health care, energy, and education.

With 20 years of experience as a staffer in the House of Representatives, Jeremy served as chief of staff to Rep. Lois Capps, having served in the same role for the congresswoman’s late husband, Rep. Walter Capps. In this role, he assisted the congresswoman with issues coming before the Committee on Energy and Commerce, helping her to develop...

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Alexander Hecht, Vice President of Government Relations, Mintz Levin law Firm
Vice President of Government Relations

Alex is Deputy Director of the Mintz Levin Center for Health Law & Policy. He is an attorney with more than 10 years of senior-level experience in Congress and trade associations.

Alex assists clients with their legislative and regulatory needs on a wide range of issues. Prior to joining ML Strategies, Alex served for over six years as chief counsel for Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME) on the US Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship. He was the lead policy counsel for Senator Snowe on health insurance market reform, individual and employer-based...

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Joseph P. Hammang, Vice President, Mintz Levin Law Firm
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Joe is an experienced leader in scientific and technology policy development. His work includes developing internal and external policies for biopharmaceutical companies, managing business development and intellectual property assessment for private and publicly-funded corporations, and overseeing research and development of a project from the initial pilot stage to corporate partnering. 

Before joining ML Strategies, Joe worked at Pfizer Inc. as the Senior Director, Science Policy in the Worldwide Policy group. Joe was also Director, Science Policy and Public Affairs in Pfizer...

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Abby Matousek, Manager of Government Relations, Mintz Levin, Law Firm
Manager of Government Relations

Abby is a Manager of Government Relations at ML Strategies. She focuses on a variety of issues including financial services, small business, and health care.

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