With the sequestration battle in Washington and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in its initial stages of implementation, Advocacy and Government Relations staff attended many pertinent meetings throughout October.
The Committee on Ways & Means of the U.S. House of Representatives held a full committee hearing on the “Status of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Implementation” on October 29, where Marilynn Tavenner, Administrator of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), was questioned about the HealthCare.gov launch by members of the committee.
During the question and answer period, Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) led off by repeatedly asking Administrator Tavenner for data on the number of people who have signed up for coverage through the marketplaces. Ms. Tavenner repeatedly stated that that information will be released in mid-November, restated that there have been 700,000 applicants and clarified that she has been receiving information on the number of applicants but not where they are in the application process.
She noted that the CMS has updated the site several times with new code and that the entire process should be completed by November 30. ACA implementation will continue to be scrutinized, particularly by House committees, from now until next November’s Congressional election.
ADEA AGR staff were also among more than 100 representatives from various organizations on October 23 at the Non-Defense Discretionary United Town Hall, which is a coalition of coalitions to oppose sequestration and further cuts to nondefense discretionary spending.
Sharon Parrott, Vice President for Budget Policy and Economic Opportunity at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, gave an overview of the recent legislative action on the continuing resolution and debt limit.
The two budget resolutions remain far apart, with the House restoring the defense sequester at the expense of domestic programs and the Senate following the President’s lead in assuming that the sequester will be eliminated. House Republicans want a deal that goes beyond 2014. A long-term deal is unlikely, but it is possible that some portion of sequestration (possibly for 2014 and 2015) will be replaced.
The effort to end or reduce sequestration appears to be a longer term effort than originally envisioned. Thus far in FY14, the government is operating at the FY13 post-sequester level of $986 billion. Contrasted with the FY14 post-sequester level, under current law, of $967 billion, a $19 billion cut will take place in January.
For a summary on recent federal legislative and regulatory news about oral health, dental education and dental research, read our ADEA Washington Update.
Keep up with recent state legislative and regulatory news about oral health, dental education and dental research in your state with the ADEA State Update.