News from Capitol Hill

On March 10, the Senate passed H. R. 4213, the Tax Extenders Act of 2009. This legislation extends through 2010 federal jobless benefits and subsidies to help some unemployed people afford health insurance - two programs that were expanded in last year's economic recovery plan. In addition, the federal government would transfer $25 billion to states to help them afford rising Medicaid costs. The legislation would also avert a 21-percent increase in payments to doctors who treat Medicare patients.

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense held its annual oversight hearing on the Defense Health Program (DHP) on March 10. The service surgeons general and the heads of the Nurse Corps testified. In his statement, Army Surgeon Gen. Eric Schoomaker announced that, on April 1, Maj. Gen. Patricia Horoho will join his staff as deputy surgeon general. In 2008, Horoho became the 23rd chief of the Army Nurse Corp and commander, Madigan Army Medical Center and Western Region.