Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

The FEHBlog wishes everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. Of course, the Super Committee did not produce any deficit cutting recommendations. Congress will return to work after the Thanksgiving break. The AMA News makes it clear that the medical community is nervous about the looming end of the Medicare Part B reimbursement patch on December 31.  Modern Healthcare reports that the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives has sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner asking the Republican majority to ">to ensure three pieces of legislation get passed before Dec. 16: extension of the SGR [Medicare Part B] fix, extension of unemployment insurance, and extension and expansion of the “payroll tax holiday.”

A pre-holiday tidbit from Business Insurance is that the Early Retiree Insurance Program created by the Affordable Care Act has used up $4.1 billion or 80% of its $5 billion appropriation which Congress intended to last the Program through 2013. That's up half a billion from the mid October 2011 report. It looks like the Program will be out of funding in the first quarter of 2012, and the FEHBlog would bet the ranch that Congress does not replenish the funding. In retrospect, although the FEHBlog considers it inequitable that the Affordable Care Act regulators excluded the FEHBP from the Program, there's no doubt that including the FEHBP, with its large cadre of early retirees, would have accelerated the Program's demise.

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