Weekend update / miscellany

  • Congress has adjourned for its summer recess after the House and the Senate had passed their respective versions of the State Childrens Health Insurance Program reauthorization bill, which the House leadership has rechristened as the CHAMP (Children’s Health and Medicare Protection) bill. The two Houses will have to hold a conference committee to reconcile the two bills. The President has stated that he would veto both bills, but the Senate version passed with 68 votes which is sufficient for a veto override in that House. The AMA, other health care provider groups and the AARP are lining up to support the CHAMP bill because it also would improve Medicare reimbursement to providers in part by taking money from the Medicare Advantage plans. AHIP, the health insurance lobby, supports the Senate bill which provides for a SCHIP expansion funded by a tobacco tax increase.
  • HHS is seeking public comment on its proposal to convert the American Health Information Community from a federal advisory committee to an independent public/private partnership. September 10 is the deadline for submitting comments.
  • This was a busy week for the OPM Director, Linda Springer. The FEHBlog has noted her testimony on federal employee benefits before the House Federal Workforce subcommittee on Thursday. But she also testified on federal employee pay issues before that subcommittee on Tuesday. On Friday, she applauded the introduction of a bill in the Senate (S. 2003) to encourage federal annuitants to return to part-time federal employment. At Thursday’s hearing, Director Springer described this bill as OPM’s most important legislative initiative.
  • The Senate Homeland Security and Government Operations Committee approved a federal procurement reform bill (S. 680).