109th Congress Adjourns Sine Die

The 109th Congress adjourned early today, ending the lame duck session, after passing a continuing resolution to fund the federal government through February 15, 2007, and tax and trade legislation which, among other things, extends otherwise expiring tax breaks, avoids the 5.0% cut in Medicare Part B payments to doctors previously scheduled for January 1, and makes several changes to the Health Savings Account (HSA) law.

The HSA law changes reportedly include setting the maximum annual contribution at the indexed amount (rather than the lesser of the annual health plan deductible or the indexed amount) and allowing a one time rollover of flexible spending account or health reimbursement account balances to fund an HSA. On a related note, the Employee Benefit Research Institute and the Commonwealth Fund released yesterday their second Annual Consumerism in Health Care Survey, 2006: Early Experience With High-Deductible and Consumer-Driven Health Plans.

The Senate also finally confirmed Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach as Food and Drug Administration Commissioner.