KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

House Subcommittee Approves Spending Bill That Deletes Health Law Funding

The measure, which is part of the GOP plan to defund the health overhaul, also deletes all federal funding for Planned Parenthood and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Politico: Health-Care Reform: Subcommittee Follows Up On Plan To Defund
Republicans on a House Appropriations subcommittee beat back Democratic efforts Wednesday to protect the health reform law, winning passage of a spending bill that would defund the Affordable Care Act, eliminate a decades-old health research agency and slash the budget for other health programs. The subcommittee approved the Labor-Health and Human Services appropriations bill on a mostly party-line vote of 8-6. The vote came only after Republicans defeated an attempt by one of their own, Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), to chop an additional $8.6 billion from the bill, cutting it by 5.5 percent across the board (Cheney, 7/18).

National Journal:  Republicans Approve Bill To Gut Spending On Health Law
House Republicans on Wednesday backed a health care spending bill that cuts all federal funding for Planned Parenthood, an agency focused on improving health quality, and Democrats' signature health reform law, sending the legislation to full committee.  The House Labor-Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee approved the fiscal 2013 L-HHS bill on a largely party-line vote…The bill cuts funding for labor and health programs to $150 billion, a drop of $6.8 billion from what they got in 2012. It is $2 billion lower than what the programs received in 2009 (McCarthy, 7/18).

In addition, the possible impact of upcoming scheduled automatic spending cuts is taking shape -

Politico: Domestic Programs Brace For Sequester's Ax
[Rep. Ed] Markey obtained one of the early detailed answers from the Obama administration about the budget pain of the automatic cuts — formally called a sequester — in a letter released last week from the Department of Health and Human Services. Among those cuts: the elimination of 2,300 National Institutes of Health research grants; nearly 100,000 children losing Head Start services; and no more child care assistance for 80,000 kids. Not to mention 12,150 fewer patients with access to AIDS Drug Assistance Program benefits and 169,000 people who would not get access to substance-abuse treatment programs (Kim, 7/18).

And ideas on how to replace the current Medicare payment formula continue to bounce around Capitol Hill -

CQ Healthbeat:  From the CQ Newsroom: Progress Seen in House on Medicare Payment Rates, But Extension Likely
House lawmakers on Wednesday praised ideas to replace the current Medicare physician payment formula but acknowledged that anything more than an extension of rates is unlikely to happen this year… The hearing was similar to several held by the Senate Finance Committee this year, with witnesses from the private sector sharing their experiences in trying to move away from a traditional fee-for-service physician reimbursement system.  But lawmakers said they must be realistic about the schedule for the rest of this year. The best possible outcome for now, several said, may be a long-term payment patch to provide more time to work out a replacement – the same goal they reached for, and missed, last year (Ethridge, 7/19).

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