In Shadow Of The 'Cliff,' Other Capitol Hill Health Care Activity Goes On

On Capitol Hill, various members and committees are writing letters to the administration or proposing legislation.

CQ HealthBeat: House Small Business Chairman Pushes Back On Essential Benefits Rule
Small businesses are concerned about the costs of the health care law’s essential health benefits provisions as more information emerges about how they will be implemented, according to a letter the chairman of the House Committee on Small Business will send Thursday to the Obama administration. ... said that in some cases, state benchmark plans may not cover all the essential benefits. “Virtually all small businesses will be forced to supplement state-selected policies that will not include coverage for mental health, substance abuse, pediatric dental and vision, habilitative care and additional prescription drugs,” wrote [Republican Sam Graves of Missouri] (Norman, 12/12).

CQ HealthBeat: Bill To Lift Ban On Asthma Inhalers Rejected By House
The House defeated a measure Thursday that would allow for the sale of existing stockpiles of a banned over-the-counter emergency asthma inhaler. The bill, sponsored by Texas Republican Michael C. Burgess, was rejected 229-182. ... In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration barred the sale of the inhalers after Dec. 31, 2011, because they contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), a chemical believed to deplete the ozone layer (Phenicie, 12/12).

WBUR: Warren Named To Senate Banking, Health, Aging Committees
Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren will once more be taking on Wall Street. On Wednesday the Democratic Steering Committee approved Warren’s assignment to the Senate Banking Committee. The assignments are subject to caucus and full Senate approval. ... Warren was also named to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), and the Aging Committee (12/12).

The Hill: Warren, Baldwin To Join HELP Panel
Incoming Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) were both given spots on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, along with the Special Committee on Aging. The new Senate Finance Committee, meanwhile, will include returning Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.). The announcements came after the Senate's Democratic Steering Committee approved new rosters Wednesday (Viebeck, 12/12).

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