House Majority Leader Outlines Plan for ACA Related Provisions

In a memo released last week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) outlined the House’s legislative agenda for this summer. In the memo, Cantor prepared House members for a vote on Chairman Fred Upton’s FDA user fee reform bill (H.R. 5651) this Wednesday and indicated that the House could also expect to vote on repealing the health reform law’s tax on medical devices and its ban on using Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA’s) to purchase over-the-counter drugs (H.R. 436) as early as June.

Repealing these provisions of the law has been a top priority for the GOP this year and has gained the support of many members of Congress. At a hearing last April, House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chair Charles Boustany, MD (R-LA) said physician groups suggested that the health law’s ban on HSAs and FSAs for over-the-counter medication purchases has “imposed an unreasonable administrative burden, resulting in longer waits for appointments and increased health care costs.”

Legislation to repeal the health law’s 2.3% excise tax on medical devices starting in 2013 has also drawn strong support from Republicans as well as some Democrats. As for the Republican strategy after the Supreme Court announces its June decision, the memo stated that the House would be prepared to move forward in repealing the law, regardless of the Court’s outcome. However, Cantor offered no specific details about a repeal or replacement plan.

Alliance Urges CMS to Delay Demo Moving Duals into Managed Care

Last week, the Alliance sent a letter to CMS recommending that they delay until 2014 a program expected to move a million or more dual eligible population into managed care plans. Members of the Alliance objected to features of the program expected to result in states automatically enrolling these Medicare and Medicaid recipients in managed care plans with the condition that they can opt out afterward. In addition, the letter expressed looming concerns that the managed care plans will cut rates so low that specialty physicians can’t participate in the demonstration projects.