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 Legislative & Policy Corner

Congress Returning from Recess
Congress is still out on recess break, but will return this week for a quick session. When they return, it is expected that Congress will approve a continuing resolution funding the federal government at the current levels through March 2013. Congress will not address sequestration until after the November elections, but even then it is unclear when or if they will be able to develop a plan to avert the across the board cuts. AMCHP continues to meet with members of Congress to cultivate new champions for Title V and discuss the severe impact sequestration will have on maternal and child health programs and the populations they serve. We will be sure to keep you updated as this process unfolds.

Affordable Insurance Exchange Implementation Grants
On Aug. 23, 2012, HHS announced the award of grants to California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Maryland, Nevada, New York and Vermont to help with the implementation of affordable insurance exchanges. California, Hawaii, Iowa and New York have been awarded Level One Exchange Establishment grants, which provide one year of funding to states that have begun the process of building their exchange. Connecticut, Maryland, Nevada and Vermont were awarded Level Two Establishment grants, which are provided to states that are further along in building their exchange and offers funding over multiple years. For a detailed breakdown of each grant award and what each state plans to do with its exchange funding, click here.

HHS Announces Rule on Electronic Health Record Implementation
On Aug. 24, 2012, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a final rule that establishes a unique health plan identifier (HPID). “The rule is one of a series of changes required by the Affordable Care Act to cut red tape in the health care system and will save up to $6 billion over ten years.” To access the press release on the rule, click here and for a fact sheet, click here.