After hearing widespread complaints from its rank-and-file members, incoming House Republican leaders said last week that they had abandoned attempts to radically overhaul how healthcare issues are handled in House committees.
The decision means the Ways and Means Committee will continue to handle Medicare Part A and some Part B issues, while the Energy and Commerce Committee will oversee the Medicaid program and most Medicare Part B issues.
"It was inevitable that this was going to happen," said William Cox, vice president of government services for the Catholic Health Association. "(The GOP leaders) are finding out that it is much easier to talk about changing how things are done than it is to actually make the changes."
The Republican House leaders also began to firm up their legislative agenda for next year.
According to House Republican aides, the new House leaders have settled on a strategy of including their healthcare reform proposal, which they have promised will be a modest, incremental plan, in a larger budget bill. According to several lobbyists close to those formulating the plans, the Republicans are considering combined Medicare and Medicaid reductions of between $150 billion and $170 billion over five years.
For provider groups, that will mean dealing with the expected funding cutbacks at the same time as reform.