A healthcare lobbyist said it is too soon to tell if the loss of the requested funds will affect the launch or operation of those marketplaces.
The Senate bill included many provisions of a funding bill passed March 6 by the House of Representatives, including a cut of $10 million of the $15 million the Affordable Care Act allotted for the Independent Payment Advisory Board. The panel, which so far has no members, was created by the healthcare overhaul to rein in Medicare growth if it exceeds targets tied to growth in the overall economy.
In addition, the Senate bill required HHS to obligate all fiscal 2013 funds appropriated for community health centers by the end of the fiscal year. President Barack Obama's proposed budget for the current fiscal year had requested holding back $280 million of that money. The National Institutes of Health, meanwhile, is in line for a $71 million boost under the legislation. The Senate defeated an amendment from Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) that would have upped that to $211 million.
The Senate bill also included a measure providing an additional $12.8 million to fund the Food and Drug Administration's implementation of the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act.
The FDA language also drew praise from the nation's largest medical technology association. The bill would allow the agency to spend $40 million in fees it is collecting from device and diagnostics companies.
“Last year, Congress passed with bipartisan support legislation to codify a groundbreaking new medical device user fee agreement that included a number of reforms and performance goals intended to improve FDA's regulatory efficiency and predictability, in exchange for increased fee levels that have been paid since last October,” Stephen Ubl, president and CEO of the Advanced Medical Technology Association, said in a news release issued after the vote. “These improvements serve the interests of patients, industry and FDA.”
The House is expected to pass the measure this week.