Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Things are heating up on Capitol Hill

Senate leaders from both parties agreed yesterday on an alternative minimum tax patch and tax extenders bill (S 6049) that includes as Section 507 the enhanced mental health parity law. According to an AP report, "the tax package is one of the last major issues that Congress must
address in the last weeks before its scheduled adjournment for the year [later this month]." If Congress passes this law before adjournment, the law would be applicable to the FEHB Program in 2010. The major difference between the new law and the FEHBP status quo is that the new law would require parity in network and out of network while the current FEHBP policy is to require parity in-network only.

The Senate Finance Committee held a health care reform-related hearing yesterday titled Aligning Incentives: The Case for Delivery System Reform. The testimony may be found here, and a Kaiser report on the hearing there.

Rep. Pete Stark (D CA), chairman of the Health Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee, has introduced a bill to promote the adoption of health information technology by the medical community (HR 6898). It appears that this issue is being booted into the next Congress.

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