Congress Sets Low Bar for the New Year
Congress returned to Washington in January following a long holiday recess during which many members were chastened by constituents’ criticism of their performance. However, increased bipartisanship and improved legislative productivity are not on the congressional horizon. Instead, congressional plans include very modest legislative output up through the November election, with many major decisions pushed off until December and into 2013.
Medicare Provider Status
The House endured severe criticism at the end of last year when it initially rejected a Senate bill extending expiring unemployment benefits, restoring Medicare physicians fee payments, and extending payroll tax cuts affecting most taxpayers. The catch-all bill cleared the Senate with broad bipartisan support, but the House only reluctantly accepted a two-month measure on the condition that a formal conference committee be convened in January.
AMHCA has learned from the Department of Defense (DoD) office administering TRICARE that it must issue written policies interpreting new mental health counselor rules for the TRICARE intermediaries. DoD/TRICARE expects to issue administrative policies within a few months on the mental health counselor rules issued on Dec. 27.
Medicare Overhaul and Health Care Reform
House GOP leaders have not abandoned plans to dramatically reshape Medicare and repeal the Accountable Care Act (ACA). House committees of jurisdiction plan to consider Medicare premium support legislation that voluntarily privatizes the program for beneficiaries as well as advance bills that would repeal and replace the President’s healthcare reform law. While no observers expect sweeping legislation to pass the Democratic Senate or be signed by the President, the House GOP leaders wish to clarify for voters their approach to these major health coverage issues.
Latest AMHCA Updates
AMHCA members frequently contact our office for our latest legislative information. Did you know that AMHCA posts the latest government relations updates on its website and on its Facebook page?