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Senate’s CR Proposal Would Not Provide Additional ACA Funding

On Monday, Senate appropriators released a broad-ranging substitute amendment to the House-approved continuing resolution extension bill (HR 933) that does not provide additional implementation funding for the Affordable Care Act, AP/U-T San Diego reports.

About the Proposal

The bill would prevent a government shutdown on March 27 -- when the current CR expires -- and fund the federal government through Sept. 30 (Taylor, AP/U-T San Diego, 3/11). The measure was co-authored by Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) (Lawder, Reuters, 3/11).

The proposal builds on the House-approved CR extension bill, which would maintain the $85 billion in spending cuts under sequestration that took effect on March 1 and include a 2% reduction to Medicare reimbursement rates (California Healthline, 3/8). The Senate version also leaves the sequestration cuts intact (Reuters, 3/11).

Like the House-passed version, the Senate proposal does not include an additional $949 million that the Office of Management and Budget had requested for CMS. It also would rescind $10 million from funding for the ACA's Independent Payment Advisory Board.

In addition, the Senate proposal would eliminate $6.4 billion allocated to Medicaid and CHIP for performance bonus payments, which are intended to encourage enrollment and retention in the programs and offset states' costs of increasing enrollment.

Further, the Senate proposal would eliminate $200 million allocated to the Community-Based Care Transitions program in the ACA and require HHS to obligate all fiscal year 2013 funding for community health centers by Sept. 30.

The measure also would provide an additional $71 million in funding for NIH and give the CDC director the power to deploy staff without reimbursement during emergencies.

GOP Lawmaker To Introduce Amendment Delaying ACA Funding

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) plans to introduce an amendment delaying ACA funding, CQ Roll Call reports.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other Republicans have indicated that they will support the measure (Attias, CQ Roll Call, 3/11).

Senate, House To Release Budget Proposals

In related news, House Republicans on Tuesday are expected to release a fiscal year 2014 budget proposal by House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) that would repeal the ACA and transform Medicare into a premium-support system.

Senate Democrats plan to counter the House proposal by introducing their own budget on Wednesday. While the Senate measure would not balance the federal budget, the proposal would maintain Medicare and other benefit programs and repeal the automatic cuts under sequestration (AP/U-T San Diego, 3/11).

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