SMART Act Still Not Law

Medicare Set-Aside Blog on January 3, 2013
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While President Obama signed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 and the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 today, he has yet to sign the SMART Act. In the list of pending legislation posted by the White House, H.R. 1845 remains fifth to last, and during my various status checks, it appears that they are presented to the president starting from the oldest. A historic review of his signed legislation indicates that he performs this task at least once a week; therefore, it would appear that the SMART Act will likely be signed into law next week. Note, however, that the Act is competing for the president’s attention with at least seven other pieces of legislation naming post offices, a bill to designate the City of Salem, MA as the birthplace of the National Guard, and a law granting a right of way in Mt. Manitou Park.

It is unlikely that the president would deny bubble boy funding for in-home treatment, so the SMART Act will become law eventually. It was, however, interesting to note in the 12/19/12 Congressional Record that at least two congressmen noted the irony of passing legislation to expedite a slow and already burdensome process without providing any administrative funding for increased agency staff, improved systems or new contracts to perform the work in question.  And, for those dealing primarily with work comp, who have really been feeling left out of this whole process given there are seldom conditional payment issues holding up settlements and you are rarely without a social security number since employees are more than willing to disclose those to the IRS in order to get paid, Congressman Reichert went on record reminding Congress that his legislation (H.R. 5284) is also bipartisan and still requires their attention. No reference as to how to amend a voluntary, unregulated program with legislation but he may just not have been yielded enough time to cover that.

So check back next week. I’m sure we’ll have the exciting news to report then.