- There has not been much progress in the appropriations process since last week. Congress passed another SCHIP reauthorization bill this week that the President again intends to veto. Neither the House nor the Senate passed the bill by a veto proof margin. Business Insurance reported on the burdens that the SCHIP reauthorization bill will place on employers that sponsor health plans.
Among these are requirements to: disclose plan information to states upon request; create special enrollment periods for employees and dependents who lose eligibility for the federal program; and extend the Family and Medical Leave Act to 26 weeks from the current 12 weeks for employees to care for injured members of the armed services.
A Congressional Conference Committee agreed upon a combined Labor-HHS-Education (HR 3043) and Military Construction – Veterans Affairs (HR 2642) appropriations bill. According to the Washington Post. the leadership is betting that the President who has threatened to veto HR 3043 will not veto a bill that includes funding for veterans. The FY 2008 continuing resolution (H. Jt. Res. 52) that currently funds the Government and the SCHIP program expires on November 16.
- The New York Times business section today featured an article by a Harvard economics professor N. Gregory Mankiw who debunks “three of the true but misleading statements about health care that politicians and pundits love to use to frighten the public.”