Here are some key health care policy headlines from the past week that you may have missed.
Legislation and Committee Activity
Bloomberg: Opioids Compromise Already in the Works in Congress – Congress is working on a compromise package of bills to fight the opioid crisis and hopes to finish voting on it in the next two weeks. The Senate and House began working on the compromise before the Senate passed its package on Sept. 17, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said. They aim to have the package ready by Sept. 21, he said. Read More
Senate Passes Final Defense, Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Minibus Conference Report – On Tuesday, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman, Richard Shelby (R-AL), praised the Senate’s passage of the final conference agreement reached on H.R. 6157, the second of three Fiscal Year 2019 minibus appropriations packages, which includes funding bills for the Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies subcommittees. The bill also contains a continuing resolution (CR) through December 7, 2018, for any appropriations bills not enacted before October 1, 2018. Following passage in the House, which is expected to vote on the legislation next week, the package will be sent to the President’s desk for his signature. Read More
Bipartisan Bill to Prohibit “Gag Clauses” That Can Cause Consumers to Overpay for Prescriptions Passes Senate – On Monday, by a vote of 98-2, the Senate passed legislation authored by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) to remove barriers that can prevent patients from paying the lowest possible prices for their prescription drugs. Read More
Stat: Top Trump Health Official Calls on Congress to do More on Drug Pricing – On Thursday, A top U.S. health official called on lawmakers in Congress to do more to help bring down drug prices, saying that the Trump administration had “given them a lot of opportunities to step in here.” I think Congress can do more,” said Joe Grogan, associate director for health programs at the Office of Management and Budget. Read More
Bloomberg: Health Information Blocking Proposal Under Review – On Monday, a long-awaited proposal designed to free up the electronic exchange of health-care information is under review by the government. The White House Office of Management and Budget received a proposed rule from the Health and Human Services Office for the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology that would define and prohibit information blocking by health system IT networks. Read More
Using Telemedicine to Combat the Opioid Epidemic – Combatting the opioid crisis is a top priority for the Trump Administration and HHS. We are making progress. Just last week we released the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) data, which showed significantly more people received treatment for substance use disorder in 2017 than in 2016; this was especially true for those with heroin-related opioid use disorders. Read More
Politico: White House Seeks Telemedicine Expansion Advice – This week, telemedicine industry groups descended on Washington for the behind-closed doors meeting, where they complained to officials from the White House, HHS and the Federal Trade Commission about policy barriers to widespread access; many of them advocated for completely eliminating originating site restrictions for reimbursement. Read More
Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Proposed Regulatory Provisions to Promote Program Efficiency, Transparency, and Burden Reduction – On Monday, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule to revise the applicable conditions of participation (CoPs) for providers and conditions for coverage (CfCs) as a continuation of our efforts to reduce regulatory burden in accordance with the January 30, 2017 Executive Order “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs” (Executive Order 13771). Read More
The Senate and House are in session next week. Government fiscal year ends on Sunday, September 30.
On Tuesday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security will hold a hearing on health care in rural America. Read More
On Thursday, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on reducing U.S. maternal mortality. Read More
On Thursday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will hold a hearing on Reducing Health Care Costs: Improving Affordability Through Innovation. Read More
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