Negotiations continue between the White House and Congressional Leaders to come to agreement on all the tax provisions that are set expire at the end of the year and efforts are also focused on avoiding the automatic sequesters cuts that are scheduled to take place next January. The sequester cuts were part of the Budget Control Act of 2011 that Congress agreed to and the President signed on August 2, 2011. NCPA continues to advocate against cuts to Medicare and TRICARE that will occur if the sequester is not avoided before 2013.
It’s our understanding that the President and the Speaker did talk this week but no details on what was discussed have been released. It also seems that until very large numbers on raising taxes and reforming entitlements are agreed to on both sides, staff will not start to draft legislation and make policy decisions on offsets and everything else that will need to be included in the package. NCPA sent a letter this week to Senate Finance Chairman Baucus and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Camp, as well as Finance Ranking Member Hatch (UT) and Ways and Means Ranking Member Levin (MI) advocating that H.R. 1936, the Medicare Access to Diabetes Supplies Act, be included in the package. The bill would exempt small pharmacies from the competitive bidding program for diabetes testing supplies but save money by including larger pharmacies in the program immediately.