Weekly Healthcare Update for April 14, 2014

Weekly Recap

Last Thursday, the House approved Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s fiscal 2015 budget resolution (H.Con.Res. 96) in a 219-205 vote. The plan would balance the budget in 10 years by making $5 trillion in spending cuts. It would make steep cuts to Medicaid and food stamps, while converting Medicare to an optional private system for future seniors. It would also repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but incorporates $700 billion in Medicare savings and $1 trillion in revenues generated under the health law. No Democrats voted for the budget, which stands little chance of floor consideration in the Senate. Final passage of the Ryan plan came after the House rejected a Democratic alternative 163-261 and a budget from the Republican Study Committee 133-291. The House also voted 2-413 to reject an alternative based on President Obama's fiscal 2015 spending blueprint.

Weekly Healthcare Update for April 7, 2014

Weekly Recap

Last week saw the Senate approve a ‘doc fix’ bill (H.R. 4302), to prevent a 24 percent cut to Medicare doctors that was scheduled to take effect April 1. Members approved the measure 64-35, with four votes more than the sixty votes needed for passage. Senate passage sent the measure to President Obama for his signature. Last month, House and Senate leaders had agreed on a bipartisan SGR reform deal, but were unable to resolve how to pay for its cost.

The Senate also approved three executive branch nominations and moved towards passage of a five-month extension to long-term unemployment benefits. Last Thursday, the Senate voted 61-35 to end debate on the unemployment insurance extension bill (H.R. 2149), setting up a final passage vote this week. While Senate passage could put pressure on the House to take action, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has said he wouldn’t consider the Senate deal because it doesn’t include job-creating measures.

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