Confirmation hearings and more

  • reports that John Berry had a successful confirmation hearing today before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. According to the article,

    Berry declined to comment after the hearing on the imminent introduction of a bill that would extend health and retirement benefits to the domestic partners of gay and lesbian federal employees. He said he could not discuss specific policies until after his confirmation.

    The next step in the process is a Committee vote, followed by a full Senate vote.

  • Modern reports that two Senate committees have scheduled confirmation hearings for Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sibelius, the nominee for HHS Secretary.
  • The AMA continued its jihad against health insurers today when its president Nancy Nielsen, MD, advocated legislation to require transparency in health insurance reimbursement practices. According to a Reuters report, “The AMA believes enormous savings would accrue to patients, physicians, health insurers and other third-party payers if there were complete transparency,” she told the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Why not start with more transparency in medical pricing? As I have explained before in the FEHBlog, the goal of the AMA “transparency initiative” is to place more benjamins in the pockets of out-of-network doctors.
  • OPM posted its benefits administration letter implementing the ARRA premium subsidy for involuntarily terminated federal employees who elect the FEHBP’s analog to COBRA, called temporary continuation of coverage.