- SAVE THE DATE - 5th Annual NIHB Tribal Public Health Summit, Holiday Inn Grand Montana, Billings, MT, April 1-3, 2014.
- SAVE THE DATE - 31st NIHB Annual Consumer Conference (ACC), Albuquerque, NM, September 22-25, 2014. The National ACC will be hosted by the Navajo Area Indian Health Board.
Stay tuned to www.nihb.org in the coming weeks for updates on the Public Health Summit and the Annual Consumer Conference. We hope to see you there.
On Tuesday, December 10, Congressional Budget negotiators announced a budget agreement that will sent top-line spending levels for FYs 2014 and 2015 and avoid additional sequestration cuts. The agreement will raise discretionary spending by $63 billion over the next two years and increase the sequester-set level for FY 2014 from $967 to $1.012 trillion and to $1.014 trillion in FY 2015. The savings will come from decreased contributions to federal employee retirement plans and increases in airport user fees, among other provisions. The House overwhelmingly passed the measure on December 12. Click here to see how your representative voted on the budget deal. It will be considered by the Senate this week. It is expected to pass, but by only a very slim margin.
Now that the final budget numbers have been reached, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees will begin working on a final spending allocation for FY 2014. The first step will be to agree on "302(b) allocations" which are the final numbers set by the committees that determine what each of the 12 appropriations bills will receive. Once these numbers have been reached, we will have a clearer idea of what will happen to Indian health funding for FY 2014.
However, recent conversations with appropriators on the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee indicate that the committee does intend to prioritize IHS in the funding agreement for FY 2014. Congress is likely to begin considering the appropriations package for FY 2014 when it returns from the holiday break on January 6.
Please stay tuned to NIHB for future updates on the budget. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
On Thursday, December 12, the Senate Finance Committee passed its "Doc Fix" reform bill which will reform the payments made to doctors under Medicare. Importantly, the legislation that was advanced also contained provisions known as "Medicare Extenders." The renewal of the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) was part of that package. The bill would renew the program for 5 years at $150 million per year. The legislation passed out of committee without any opposition. Thank you to everyone who called in to support this important legislation!
The House Ways and Means Committee also passed a "Doc Fix" bill last Thursday. The version does not contain the extender package. However, it has been reported that Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) also plans to "address" the Medicare extenders before this bill reaches the full House of Representatives for consideration. NIHB encourages you to continue to contact House of Representatives members to support inclusion of SDPI in the Medicare Extender package when it is considered in 2014.
These measures will likely be considered by the full chambers next year as Members of Congress search for ways to offset the additional spending in the proposals. This week, Congress is expected to pass a 3 month patch for "Doc Fix" until they can complete a full reform which will likely occur in early 2014.
If you have any questions about SDPI, or would like information on how you can become involved in NIHB's renewal campaign, please contact Caitrin Shuy, NIHB Manager of Congressional Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 507-4085.