H.R.1549 Helping Sick Americans Now Act

Week Ending April 25, 2013

H.R.1549 Helping Sick Americans Now Act

HR 1549 amends Public Law 111-148 to transfer funds from fiscal year 2013 through fiscal year 2016 from the Prevention and Public Health Fund to carry out the temporary high risk health insurance pool program for individuals with preexisting conditions, and to extend access to such program to such individuals who have had creditable coverage during the 6 months prior to application for coverage through such program.

The bill aims towards the ‘orderly reopening’ of the program that carries out the temporary high risk health insurance pool program for individuals with preexisting conditions. The program, part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is funded at $5 billion and called the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan. (PCIP)

To qualify for the plan an individual must have been uninsured for at least six months, has a pre-existing condition or has been denied health coverage because of the health condition, and is a US citizen or legally resides in the US.

The bill explains that the PCIP program appears to be underutilized resulting in a decision by the Center on Medicare to suspend the program. The Secretary has broad discretion on how to redirect funds and in the past the funds have been spent of various projects so eliminating the fund does not cut any particular program. Under the bill $4 billion in FY 2013 through 2016 would be provided to fund the PCIP to replace the Centers on Medicare’s suspension of the program. The bill also removes the requirement of being without insurance for 6 months.

Sponsor: Rep Pitts, Joseph R. [PA-16]
4/24/2013 Passed/agreed to in House. Status: On agreeing to the resolution Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: 225 – 189 (Roll no. 122).. (Note: the vote on the rule for HR 1549 allowed for debate and passage without objection.)
Motion to recommit. 
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection.

Text of the motion: No motion

Cost to the taxpayers: CBO estimates that enacting the legislation would result in a decrease in net direct spending of $840 million over the 2013-2023 period
Pay-as-you-go requirements: pay-as-you-go procedures apply.
Regulatory impact:
Earmark Certification: In compliance with clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the Committee finds that H.R. 1549, Helping Sick Americans Now Act, contains no earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits.
Duplication of Programs: No provision of H.R. 1549 establishes or reauthorizes a program of the Federal Government known to be duplicative of another Federal program, a program that was included in any report from the Government Accountability Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program related to a program identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance.
Constitutional Authority: By Mr. PITTS:
H.R. 1549.
Congress has the power to enact this legislation pursuant
to the following:
This bill is enacted pursuant to the power granted to
Congress under Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the United
States Constitution.

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