Congress Under Pressure to Address Part B Premiums

Last week, the administration announced that for the first time since 2011, Social Security recipients will not see a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2016. The lack of an increase was cited as a result of a downward trend in consumer prices that has kept inflation nearly flat. This announcement will trigger a significant increase in premiums for about 30 percent of Medicare Part B enrollees, those who are not protected from paying higher premiums under the program’s hold harmless provision. Lawmakers are debating potential solutions to avoid the premium increase, but determining how to pay for such proposals could be problematic.

Upcoming Congressional Meetings and Hearings

House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee: hearing titled “Examining Legislative Proposals to Combat our Nation’s Drug Abuse Crisis;” 4:00 p.m., 2123 Rayburn Bldg. October 20

House Energy and Commerce Committee: hearing titled “Examining the Medicare Part D Medication Therapy Management Program;” 10:00 a.m., 2123 Rayburn Bldg.; October 21

House Veterans’ Affairs Health Subcommittee: hearing titled “Evaluating VA Primary Care Delivery, Workload, and Cost;” 10:00 a.m., 334 Cannon Bldg.; October 22

House Homeland Security Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications Subcommittee hearing titled “Ready and Resilient? Examining Federal Emergency Preparedness and Response Capabilities;” 10:00 a.m., 311 Cannon Bldg.; October 22

House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing titled “Reviewing the Accuracy of Medicaid and Exchange Eligibility Determinations;” 9:00 a.m., 2322 Rayburn Bldg.; October 23

House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing titled “Choice Consolidation: Assessing VA’s Plan to Improve Care in the Community;” 10:30 a.m., 334 Cannon Bldg.; November 3

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