Midweek update

Today, House and Senate leaders from the majority Republican Party agreed upon an FY 2016 budget resolution.  Once the resolution is approved by both Houses, the appropriations committee will pass FY 2016 spending bills based on the budget resolution. The budget resolution also includes reconciliation language that would permit the Senate (and of course the House) to enact an ACA repeal with 51 votes.  Of course, the President can veto the repeal and any of the spending bills so it should be an interesting period before the FY 2016 fiscal year begins on October 1.  Here’s a link to the Hill’s report on the budget resolution.

Following up on Sunday’s post, the Information Technology Committee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee did hold its hearing today on policy responses to encryption. However it turns out that the hearing was focused on the federal government’s negative reaction to the inclusion of encryption technology in mobile devices like cell phones, which is based on law enforcement concerns.  In one of her first public appearances, according to the Federal Times, our new Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that combatting cybercrimes will be a high priority for the Justice Department, which is good news. To that end, the Justice Department has created a cybersecurity unit according to the Federal Times.

Publicly trade health insurers and other public companies have been announcing their first quarter 2015 results.  Aetna, United Healthcare, and Anthem all had positive news as ABC News and the Hartford Courant report.

The Leapfrog Group came out with updated hospital safety scores. “For the fourth time in a row, zero hospitals in the District of Columbia received an A grade.” That’s encouraging.

Finally, on the population health management front, the Social Service Research Council issued a Geographies of Opportunity report which ranks Congressional districts based on health. access to knowledge, and living standards. The health tidbits from the press release are not encouraging. For example,

Life expectancy ranges from just under 84 years in California District 19 (San Jose and part of Santa Clara County) to just under 73 years in Kentucky District 5 (rural southeastern Kentucky). This shocking gap is more extreme than the life expectancy difference between Japan and the Palestinian territories.

Check out your district.