Govexec.com reports that Congress will take action this week to avoid a government shutdown for three weeks beyond this coming Friday March 18. The new continuing resolution funding the federal government would cut an additional $6 billion ($2 billion per week) from FY 2011 appropriations.
The Associated Press reports that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has granted the federal government's motion to accelerate its consideration of the government's appeal of U.S. District Judge Vinson's order holding the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. "The decision means the federal government must file its first set of court papers on the issues in the case by April 4, and the state of Florida has until May 4 to file its papers. The federal government would file additional papers by May 18. The appeals court said it had not made a decision on a request that the initial review be held before all 10 federal judges."
Modern Healthcare reports that HHS Secretary Sebelius announced that the much anticipated accountable care organization regulation will be issued later this month. ACOs are scheduled to begin participating in the Medicare program next year.
There are two major Affordable Care Act regulations affecting group health plans, including FEHB plans, this month -- the regulation governing the uniform explanation of benefits (new Public Health Service Act section 2715) and the regulation governing transparency reporting (new Public Health Service Act section 2715A).