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H.R. 3400 (111th): Empowering Patients First Act

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jul 30, 2009.

Empowering Patients First Act - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow a tax credit for qualified health insurance costs to residents of a state that implements a high-risk pool, a reinsurance pool, or other risk-adjustment mechanism.

Amends the Public Health Service Act to provide for the establishment and governance of individual membership associations (IMAs) to make available health benefits coverage to IMA members and their dependents.

Small Business Health Fairness Act of 2009 - Amends the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to provide for establishment and governance of association health plans, which are group health plans whose sponsors are trade, industry, professional, chamber of commerce, or similar business associations and which meet certain ERISA certification requirements.

Directs that the laws of the state designated by a health insurance issuer (primary state) shall apply to individual health insurance coverage offered by that issuer in the primary state and in any other state (secondary state), but only if the coverage and issuer comply with conditions of this Act.

Amends title XXI (Children's Health Insurance) (CHIP, formerly known as SCHIP) of the Social Security Act (SSA) to: (1) require a state CHIP plan to specify how it will achieve coverage for 90% of targeted low-income children; and (2) prohibit CHIP payments for children with family income above 300% of the applicable poverty line.

Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2009 - Sets conditions for lawsuits arising from health care liability claims regarding health care goods or services or any medical product affecting interstate commerce. Establishes a statute of limitations and limits noneconomic and punitive damages.

Permits a group health plan to vary premiums and cost-sharing by up to 50% of the benefits based on participation (or lack of participation) in a wellness program.

Requires a health insurance issuer to provide claims information, on request, to a plan, plan sponsor, or plan administrator.

Prohibits the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) from using comparative effectiveness research to deny coverage of an item or service under a federal health care program.

Authorizes a state to establish a Health Plan and Provider Portal website to standardize information on health insurance plans available in the state.

Revises the formula for determining rates in the fee schedule for Medicare physician payments.

Sets forth provisions regarding students loans and loan repayment for health care professionals.

Establishes discretionary spending limits for FY2010-FY2019 for new budget authority in the nondefense category.

Rescinds unobligated balances of certain discretionary appropriations made available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Repeals other provisions of such Act, including provisions providing fiscal assistance to states and setting limits on executive compensation.