While the Affordable Care Act and other cost-controlling measures have helped strengthen Medicare's trust fund, officials say reform still is needed to ensure the program's long-term sustainability.
The legislation is expected to cost about $17 billion, including $12 billion in new emergency funding and $5 billion from spending cuts within the VA system.
Only Idaho plans to switch to a state-operated exchange in 2015, but several other states are considering making the change in 2016 in order to maintain consumers' subsidy access.
Some business groups say they will only have five months to prepare for the employer mandate.
The lawmakers are considering congressional action to prevent further mishandling of dangerous pathogens.