Revised ‘Extenders’ Bill Would Trim State Medicaid Assistance
On Tuesday, Senate Democrats circulated a revised version of the "extenders" bill (HR 4213) they said would alleviate moderate senators' concerns over the bill's cost and deficit effect, CQ Today reports.
The revised bill scales back a provision that would have provided nearly $24 billion in additional federal Medicaid funds to states for six months. The change's effect on the deficit remains unclear (Rubin, CQ Today, 6/22).
Under the revised bill, the federal Medicaid assistance percentage would be gradually reduced over the course of the proposed six-month extension, lowering the overall cost of the bill by an estimated $8.5 billion (Cohn, CongressDaily, 6/22).
Senate aides said that the newly revised bill is not finalized and described it as a "trial balloon" to gauge its prospects in the chamber. Neither Senate lawmakers nor Senate aides officially released or confirmed the revised bill (CQ Today, 6/22).
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) acknowledged that changes to the state Medicaid assistance package were likely, adding that he is "hopeful and confident" that the chamber would be able to move forward with the bill. However, Reid did not say when a substitute amendment that reflects the change to the Medicaid assistance would be introduced (CQ Today, 6/22).
House Democratic Leaders Take Different Approach to 'Doc Fix' Compromise
Meanwhile, House Democratic leaders on Tuesday said they plan to monitor the developments on the extenders bill in the Senate before they make a decision about the Senate's new stand-alone doc fix bill (HR 3962) (Cohn, CongressDaily, 6/23).
According to a Senate Democratic aide, some House members are concerned about one of the two offset plans that the Senate introduced to ensure that the doc fix compromise would be fully funded.
However, on Tuesday, Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) appeared to have "staked out different positions" on whether the House should approve the doc fix compromise, CQ Today reports. While Pelosi remains adamant that the Senate first approve the larger extenders bill, Hoyer has said that although the jobs-creation bill is vital, there are physicians who serve Medicare patients that also need to be paid.Hoyer also said that he and Reid have been in regular contact to encourage the Senate to pass the extenders bill. He expressed hope that Congress eventually would develop a permanent solution to the underlying Medicare reimbursement formula issue that has long plagued Congress, rather than implement a series of short-term fixes (Epstein, CQ Today, 6/22). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.