In a proposal package that aims to save the federal government about $114 billion over 10 years, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a series of healthcare cost-cutting measures that would repeal several Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provisions.
House panel votes to repeal reform provisions
The panel is one of six House committees that the recently passed, fiscal 2013 House budget resolution instructed to find billions in savings as a way to avoid across-the-board reductions to federal programs next year through sequestration. These recommendations will be sent to the House Budget Committee. After hours of consideration on Wednesday, the panel ultimately approved proposals that mirror many of the bills the House passed last year to repeal the 2010 healthcare law.
For example, one of the recommendations includes repealing the law's prevention and public health fund, which provides an advanced appropriation of about $16 billion and about $2 billion in annual appropriation. Another would de-fund the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan, or CO-OP, program, which would give government-subsidized loans to qualified, non-profit health insurance plans. Initially the program had appropriated $6 billion, but that was later decreased to about $3.8 billion in a fiscal year 2011 continuing resolution approved last year.
Other measures include rebasing the disproportionate share hospital allotment in 2022; repealing the Medicaid maintenance-of-effort requirement for states; and approving a proposal to implement medical liability legislation that the Energy and Commerce committee approved last year.
Last week, the House Ways and Means Committee—which has jurisdiction over the Medicare program—approved its own recommendations for the House Budget Committee to consider. Passed in March, the 2013 House budget from Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) committee called for this reconciliation process to replace the sequester, and also noted that the Senate must also act in order for reconciliation to take place. Meanwhile, the actions from these House committees are seen as priority areas that are likely to resurface in future budget discussions.
“Unless we propose more thoughtful savings, this sequester will cut discretionary spending indiscriminately while shielding the lion share of the government's budget, mandatory spending, from reductions,” Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said in a release. “These proposals will help avoid a draconic sequester that will harm our military capacity and achieve savings where they are needed the most – in our nation's growing entitlement apparatus.”
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