Midweek update

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee took the following action at a business meeting this morning:

Nomination of Hon. Beth F. Cobert to be Director, Office of Personnel Management
Results: Ordered reported favorably by voice vote.
Senators present: Johnson, McCain, Portman, Paul, Lankford, Ayotte, Ernst, Sasse, Carper, McCaskill, Tester, Baldwin, Heitkamp, Booker, and Peters.

Now the nomination moves to the Senate floor assuming that Sen. Vitter removes his block. More details on the business meeting can be found in this Federal News Radio article.

Federal News Radio provides a comprehensive overview of the President’s budget proposals affecting federal employment. While the President’s budget as a whole is a dead letter, some of his ideas will be picked up in appropriations bills over the course of the year. Time will identify which ones.

Reuters reports that Aetna and Cigna each reach pay for performance deals with the drug maker Novartis for its new heart drug Entresto. Bloomberg provides more details on the deals which give us hope for a new trend.

The Labor Department issued a hefty report to Congress concerning health plan compliance with the federal mental health parity law. “This report includes examples of situations where EBSA was able to intervene on behalf of participants and ensure that participants received coverage for the healthcare they needed. These results will no doubt be replicated and built upon in coming years as the agency continues to identify, respond to, and correct MHPAEA violations and minimize the opportunity for future violations through effective outreach and regulation.”