TGIF

Federal News Radio brings up up to date on Capitol Hill actions. Congress has passed the 21st Century Cures Act and the National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) for the current fiscal year.  The House passed a continuing resolution that funds the Federal government until April 28, 2017. The House has left town for the holidays. The Senate is considering the measure now.

Christmas came early for federal employees as the President decided to up their 2017 pay increase for 1.6% to 2.1% which is the military raise included in the NDAA.  Here’s a link to the Washington Post’s report. 
LifeHealthPro has a list of five “surprises” in the 21st Century Cures act.  Section 18001 overrules an IRS administative decision prohibiting small employers from reimbursing their employees for their individual health insurance premiums on a tax exempt basis. That 2014 IRS ruling reverse 60 year old ruling. It’s nice to see flexibility return to benefit practices.  The other surprise of note is strenthening of federal enforcement over the mental health parity law.  The one hand giveth, etc. (The FEHBlog confirmed that both of these provisions are found in the final version of the law.)
The FEHBlog notes with interest that the federal judge hearing a challenge to HHS’s onerous rule implementing PHSA Section 1557 will consider a preliminary injuntion motion on December 20. This would allow the Court to issue a ruling before year end. 

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