Democrats Will Likely Push Again For Ground Zero Health Assistance

Democrats are likely to again push to give billions in health coverage assistance to Ground Zero workers when they return from their recess, Roll Call reports. "A Democratic leadership aide said Tuesday that the bill likely would get the green light for floor action shortly after the House returns Sept. 14 in conjunction with events planned to commemorate the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks." The bill failed to get a 2/3 majority in the House in late July and "touched off a heated exchange on the House floor between New York Reps. Anthony Weiner (D) and Peter King (R) over which party was to blame" (Hunter, 9/1).

The White House, in the meantime, is saying no to lawmakers who want the administration to announce the first round winners in the bidding process to provide durable medical equipment to Medicare, The Hill reports. More than 130 House members had asked the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to release the list. "'Without knowing the identity as well as the appropriate overall qualifications of these providers, we cannot evaluate the program's impact in terms of quality and access to care for seniors we represent,' the lawmakers wrote in an Aug. 11 letter to [CMS administrator Don] Berwick. … CMS has said it will announce the contract winners later in September, 'once all contracts have been finalized.'" The bidding process is meant to control costs and lower fraud in the DME industry (Lillis, 9/1).

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