Analysis –

With the first half of the health care bill now passed out of the House the Speaker now pivots to the second half of the health care bill commonly referred to as the “doc fix.” The “doc fix” refers to the undoing of the flawed Medicare payment update formula, which Congress created but has routinely stopped from being enforced. Under current law, that formula would result in a 20 percent reduction in doctors’ pay under the Medicare program. This bill would cost another $210 billion, with long term implications in the trillions. This bill is attempting to fix a budget gimmick with yet another budget gimmick.

Major Floor Action –

  • H.R. 3961 Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act of 2009 (Doc Fix)

Major Committee Action –

  • The House Armed Services Committee will hold two significant hearings next week. On Tuesday they will discuss the “U.S. Strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan” and on Wednesday they will discuss the “Long Term Defense Budget Trends.”
  • The House Foreign Affairs Committee will also hold several hearings next week on “Lifting Travel Ban on Cuba” and “Foreign Assistance and the Struggle Against Terrorism.”
  • The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing on “The Threat of al Qaeda.”
  • The House Financial Services Committee is tentatively scheduled to continue mark up of legislation concerning the financial regulatory system.