Spending Bill Approved By Congress Includes Health Policy Provisions
The New York Times reports on an array of policy measures attached to the mammoth spending measure, including one provision that provides relief to Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that the section that deals with pensions could become a model for trimming other federal programs, including Medicare.
The New York Times:
In Final Spending Bill, Salty Food And Belching Cows Are Winners
A typically arcane provision of the bill provides relief to nonprofit Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans, which have special tax breaks that were threatened by the Affordable Care Act. Blue Cross is not mentioned by name in the relevant section of the 2015 spending bill, titled “Modification of treatment of certain health organizations.” But the deduction in question is available only to Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans, which have been lobbying Congress for a clarification since the Affordable Care Act was signed in 2010. (Pear, 12/15)
The Wall Street Journal:
Pension Bill Seen As Model For Further Cuts
The measure “would set a terrible precedent,” said Karen Friedman, executive vice president of the Pension Rights Center, a group that advocates for wider pension coverage and opposes benefit cuts. The bill could encourage similar cutbacks in troubled state and local pension plans, and possibly even Social Security and Medicare, she said. (McKinnon, 12/14)