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On the Hill: Dingell to Retire, House Reviews Part D, 30-Hour Work Week

This week, the dean of the House, Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), announced he would not seek reelection this fall. Dingell was first elected to Congress in 1955 at age 29 and is the longest serving member of Congress in history. Dingell presided over the House Energy and Commerce Committee for 15 years and was the top Democrat on the committee for three decades. He is the only current member of Congress who was present for the creation of Medicare and Medicaid, and he has been a key figure in every major piece of health care legislation passed in the last several decades.

On Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing titled Messing with Success: How CMS’ Attack on the Part D Program Will Increase Costs and Reduce Choices for Seniors. The hearing will consist of two panels, the first with Jonathan Blum, principal deputy administrator for  the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the second with Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of American Action Forum; Carl Schmid, deputy executive director of The Aids Institute; and Joe Baker, president of Medicare Rights Center.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has promised House Republicans a vote on removing the 30-hour work week definition of full-time employment under the Affordable Care Act. The law also requires employers to offer health coverage if they have at least 50 full-time employees. Republicans have criticized these mandates, saying that they incentivize employers to keep their employee numbers below 50 and to cap employee hours at 29 per week. The House Ways and Means Committee marked up the Save American Workers (SAW) Act earlier this year repealing this provision.

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About the Author

Walsh is the senior manager of legislative affairs for America's Essential Hospitals.