Health Issues Play A Part In House Immigration Talks, Budget Cuts

Politico reports that issues related to the health benefits made available to undocumented immigrants as they seek citizenship could muddy House negotiations. In addition, House Republicans have pressed forward with budget cuts that would impact Indian health care and a number of other domestic programs.

Politico: House Immigration Talks Hang On Health Care
House immigration negotiators have given themselves until the end of the week to hash out language on what kind of health benefits should be available to undocumented immigrants seeking U.S. citizenship, a crucial issue for the talks. If they can’t resolve this issue, the four-year immigration negotiations could come to a crashing halt (Sherman and Bresnahan, 5/21).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: House GOP Panel Approves Agency Budget Cuts Far Deeper Than Those Approved In March
Republicans controlling the House pressed ahead Tuesday with slashing cuts to domestic programs far deeper than the cuts departments like Education, Interior and State are facing under an already painful round of automatic austerity. Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security and the Pentagon would be spared under the plan approved by the House Appropriations Committee on a party-line vote, but legislation responsible for federal firefighting efforts and Indian health care would absorb a cut of 18 percent below legislation adopted in March (5/21).

In addition -

Modern Healthcare: Bill Takes Aim At Reform Law's Rural-Floor Provision
New legislation from Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) is welcome news to 20 state hospital associations working to eliminate a contentious hospital wage-index provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Brady's bill—the Medicare Hospital Wage Index Equity Act of 2013—relates to the rural floor component of Medicare's hospital wage index, which guarantees the wage index for rural hospitals is not more than the index for urban hospitals. Before the 2010 healthcare overhaul, federal law required that payments for hospital wage-index adjustments be budget-neutral within a state so that only hospitals in that state would be affected by the changes (Zigmond, 5/21).

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