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GOP Health Reform

August 22, 2007 | Daily News

Stakeholders are gearing up to battle a sudden Bush administration policy shift that cites CMS' administrative authority to prevent "crowd-out" as a means to limit eligibility for State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) participants to 250 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). The explosive directive -- issued in a letter to state health officials last Friday (Aug. 17) -- comes less than three weeks after CMS told Senate Finance Republicans it lacks authority to universally prevent states from enacting such expansions.

August 21, 2007 | Daily News

House Democrats' State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) reauthorization plan would exacerbate eligibility verification problems identified by the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) for California, Florida and New York, a Republican aide says. In the first half of 2005, the federal government may have spent as much as $146 million on ineligible SCHIP enrollees in these three states, which cover a third of all SCHIP enrollees nationwide, OIG estimates in three audits released this month.

August 03, 2007 | Daily News

The Senate on Thursday (Aug. 2) easily approved a five-year, $35 billion expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) financed with a dramatic hike in the federal tobacco tax, but Senate support could unravel if House Medicare reforms financed through deep cuts to Medicare Advantage (MA) plans are added in conference. Despite vehement objections from a number of conservative Republicans, the measure passed 68-31, after which Democratic and GOP Finance Committee leaders promptly urged President Bush to rethink his veto plans.

August 01, 2007 | Daily News

The House is still planning to take up FDA spending legislation Wednesday (Aug. 1), after a protracted squabble over CMS bills delayed the proceedings. The bill was on yesterday's calendar, but Republicans mired it in a back-and-forth on procedure, Medicare Advantage and the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

The House took up SCHIP Wednesday morning, and is expected to make its way back to the agriculture spending bill by afternoon. Majority leader Steny Hoyer (MD) cut off Tuesday's debate shortly before 8 p.m., nearly four hours after it began.

August 01, 2007 | Daily News

The House Rules Committee early Wednesday morning approved for floor action a revised version of the Way & Means SCHIP/Medicare bill, including a new provision that would sunset state SCHIP enrollment bonuses at the end of fiscal 2013 and another that would bump the Medicaid rebates owed by branded pharmaceuticals to 22.1 percent. The proposal hit the House floor Wednesday morning -- with only two hours of debate allowed, split between leaders of Ways & Means and Energy & Commerce.

July 31, 2007 | Daily News

A coalition of Democratic and Republican senators today described the children's health care bill being debated this week on the floor as a fragile compromise that could deteriorate if provisions of the much larger House package leak into it during a conference committee, assuming the House bill wins passage and the Senate approves the version before it -- two outcomes that Democrats are banking on.

July 31, 2007 | Daily News

House Democrats plan to significantly scale back Medicare payments to physicians starting in 2010 to ensure that the Children's Health and Medicare Protection (CHAMP) Act, which may hit the floor later this week, complies with pay-go rules, two well-connected Washington sources say. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that $76 billion of the cost of the Ways & Means Committee's bill is not offset by corresponding revenues or cuts to other parts of the program.

July 30, 2007 | Daily News

E&C Dems Hint At Eliminating Oxygen, Imaging, ESRD Bundling Provisions Of CHAMP Act

July 27, 2007 | Daily News

House Energy & Commerce Committee Chair John Dingell (D-MI) cut off partisan debate Friday afternoon and pledged to move a sweeping health reform proposal to the House floor, bypassing committee votes on dozens of amendments Republicans were expected to offer.

Dingell said that the proposal, dubbed the Children's Health and Medicare Protection (CHAMP) Act, would "likely" be considered on the House floor next week. During the drawn-out, two-day committee proceeding that began Thursday 11:30 a.m., lawmakers repeatedly alluded to Wednesday floor action.

July 26, 2007 | Daily News

Former CMS Administrator Mark McClellan defended the Bush administration for allowing states to cover adults under the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), but noted that CMS has been pushing states to transfer these adults into Medicaid after statutory changes made Medicaid coverage expansions easier.

Democrats have recently taken heat from Republicans for suggesting that SCHIP should continue to cover certain adults, even though it was a GOP administration that -- partly under McClellan -- allowed the SCHIP coverage expansions in the first place.

July 25, 2007 | Daily News

In the run-up to floor action on the Senate's bipartisan SCHIP legislation, GOP opponents of the $35 billion bill are urging their Republican colleagues to support a market-based alternative that would limit eligibility to children and pregnant women below 200 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) and eliminate the waivers that have allowed states to expand their coverage populations.

July 25, 2007 | Daily News

Final details of a $90 billion, multi-pronged House bill that would reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) for five years, extend coverage to a total of 11 million children, block a 10 percent cut to physicians and beef up the Part D low income subsidy (LIS) program emerged last night as Democrats now try and move the package out of committee and onto the floor prior to the August recess.

July 20, 2007 | Daily News

With a majority of Republicans members ignoring veto threats from President Bush, the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday (July 19) easily passed a $35 billion State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) reauthorization package -- to be primarily offset by a 61-cent tobacco tax -- that allows coverage of children in families earning up to 300 percent of poverty, blocks additional waivers to cover adults, simplifies the application process and boosts reimbursements to Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). The bill passed 17-4.

July 20, 2007 | Daily News

The soon-to-be unveiled House Medicare/SCHIP package would fully reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program with $50 billion and protect coverage for the 6 million children covered by the program, but would not raise income level eligibility or change current law regarding adult eligibility, according to a one-page briefing document obtained by Inside CMS. Medicare Advantage payment cuts would be used to fund a physician payment fix, which House leadership suggested in an internal meeting Friday might be a one-year instead of two-year solution, sources say.

July 18, 2007 | Daily News

The size of an expected House State Children's Health Insurance Program package and the offsets to pay for the proposal are likely to be topics A and B when Energy & Commerce and Ways & Means leaders meet to finalize the package later today (July 18). Energy & Commerce leaders are getting pressure from some of their members over the size of the SCHIP portion of the package, slated to cost around $50 billion, and proposals to fund it through a 61-cent per pack tobacco tax and cuts to the Medicare Advantage (MA) program.

July 18, 2007 | Daily News

Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-MT) will wait another day to mark up his bill that includes $35 billion in funding for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) as lawmakers continue floor debate on the Iraq war, committee staff said.

July 18, 2007 | Daily News

It was punch, counter punch over children's health care with the Bush administration and Senate Democrats trading barbs when the administration detailed its veto rationale in a 10-page letter to the committee on Tuesday. Ignoring warnings from the Finance Committee's top GOP member to steer clear of the panel's SCHIP debate, the administration railed against lawmakers' plans to expand the scope of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and pay for it largely with a tobacco tax.

July 17, 2007 | Daily News

The Senate Finance Committee markup of a $35 billion SCHIP reauthorization plan, scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday (July 17), may be delayed as a result of an objection by a senator on the committee, ranking Finance Republican Charles Grassley (R-IA) tells Inside CMS. The delay came as the Bush administration stepped up threats it would veto the package in its current form.

July 16, 2007 | Daily News

In the wake of fresh veto threats from the Bush administration, key Senate Democrats are calling on the White House to "stop playing politics" over the Finance Committee's new $35 billion proposal to renew the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Finance leaders have spent months negotiating a deal to keep SCHIP a bipartisan endeavor, and the veto threat has inspired an outcry from both sides of the aisle.