This Capitol Hill news roundup includes reports about new health law budget numbers, and about how the GOP -- if it gained control of the Senate -- would focus on health care cost control rather than coverage expansion. Also in the news, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, is proceeding with his questions about nonprofit hospitals and charity care. Finally, an ethics panel inquiry regarding a Nevada lawmaker moves forward.
Kaiser Health News: Capsules: CBO To Release New Budget Numbers For Health Law Week Of July 23
The Congressional Budget Office will release its estimate of the federal budgetary impact of the Supreme Court health law ruling the week of July 23, according to a blog post by CBO Director Doug Elmendorf (Werber Serafini, 7/9).
Modern Healthcare: GOP Would Push Cost Control Instead Of Wider Coverage, Lawmaker Says
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), ranking member on the Finance Committee, said if Republicans gain control of the chamber next year, their efforts to replace the health care overhaul will focus on cost control, instead of coverage expansions. Hatch is in position to lead the committee with primary jurisdiction over federal health policy if Republicans retake the Senate, which Republicans would do if they net only four Democratic-held seats (Daly, 7/9).
CQ HealthBeat: Grassley Turning Up Heat On Nonprofit Hospitals To Deliver Charity Care
Sen. Charles E. Grassley is closing in on his goal of making nonprofit hospitals demonstrate what they do to deserve tax-exempt status, after years of butting heads with the American Hospital Association over whether the facilities should be required to deliver more free or discounted care to low-income Americans. Rules now being written by the IRS require nonprofits to be more specific about what community benefits they provide and to ensure that low-income patients know whether or not they are eligible for free or discounted care. The rules are a watered-down version of what Grassley, R-Iowa, really wants: a requirement that nonprofits deliver charity care equal to a set percentage of their revenue. But delivering more charity care is among the ways of complying with the rules, although not the only way, and nonprofit hospitals will no longer be able to be vague about what community benefits they provide (Reichard, 7/9).
The New York Times: Panel Seated In Ethics Inquiry Into Nevada Lawmaker
[Democratic Rep. Shelley] Berkley has been accused of wrongly intervening with Medicare officials in 2008 after they threatened to close a troubled kidney transplant center in Las Vegas where her husband's kidney-care practice served as consulting physicians (Lipton, 7/9).