The US Senate passed a crucial bill on 18 December 2015, on the last legislative day of year. The bill titled ‘Fiscal Year 2016 Omnibus Appropriations’ is designed to fund the federal government activities thorough the fiscal year 2016.
The bill was passed at the House the previous day. President Obama signed the bill into law after the Senate passed it. Along with the federal government’s spending bill, there was another piece of legislation that attracted the attention of the public. It was the legislation intended to make consistently renewed temporary tax breaks permanent.
The Omnibus package is worth $1.15 trillion. It aptly speaks about the budgetary spending caps proposed last October. The package is to be divided evenly between defense and non-defense purposes. In addition, there are provisions in the bill to boost funding within various healthcare departments such as Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the National Institutes of Health.
It is believed that bill will add funding to numerous purposes such as combating abuses and frauds, solving backlog of Medicare claim, etc. Interestingly, the bill does not intend to make any changes in the controversial programs like contingency fee structure. Meanwhile, it intends to modify the Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) program.
Omnibus Bill To Affect Affordable Care Act
It is reported that the Omnibus bill has included a series of provisions that can lead to modifications in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Often known as Obamacare, ACA is the most celebrated and debated legislative change brought by the Obama Administration. The bill proposes that ACA risk corridor program should be made budget neutral.
The program was introduced to protect insurance companies, which sell plans, from unexpected financial losses. While this program is praised for dismantling any chances where the program turns out to be a taxpayer bailout of insurance providers, it faces criticism for not provisioning any fund to cover any liability to the insurance providers. The major source of funding for the risk corridor pool comes from the profits of the insurer.
The Omnibus bill has commissioned two-year delay for the medical device tax and the Cadillac tax on expensive employer.