Washington Week in Preview…

Good morning, ProviderNation.

There’s that old, lame joke about the opposite of progress being Congress, but still… Things are In Motion.

Today, House Ways and Means will hold hearings on the so-called “doc fix.” The witness list shows it to be heavy on the physician and hospital association side, but long term care advocates will probably be listening to make sure none of the magic words (like “offset”) pops up.

Also, we’re hearing that U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) are plotting to launch a bill that would overhaul Medicaid. Among other things, the bill would reduce the provider tax to 5.5 percent and vastly expand managed care in exchange for (or do I mean, “to offset?”) more state flexibility. The lobbying types we’ve talked to say the bill’s chances of becoming law are slim (because the Democrats control the Senate, and bills of this type have usually been non-starters), but it’s worth noting because these ideas (like the snail in that other lame joke) keep coming back at the oddest times.

Finally, the long-awaited national immigration bill looks like it’ll be marked up this week. Long term care advocates have pushed hard on this one, saying that they need fresh workers to brace for that Silver Tsunami that we keep hearing about.

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