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Chronic Care Legislation Approved by Senate

The U.S. Senate has unanimously approved S. 870, the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act of 2017 (as amended). The bill is intended to improve care for the chronically ill in fee-for-service Medicare, Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, and accountable care organizations (ACOs). In particular, the bill calls for increased … Continue Reading

Senate GOP Abandons Last-Ditch ACA Repeal/Replace Legislation in Face of Opposition

The latest Republican Congressional attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has foundered, as three Republican senators announced they will join Democratic senators in opposing the “Graham-Cassidy” repeal plan. Very broadly, Graham-Cassidy would, among other things: Eliminate the penalties and mandates that individuals buy insurance and certain employers offer insurance; Replace insurance … Continue Reading

Roundup of Recent Congressional Health Policy Hearings

Several recent Congressional hearings have focused on health policy issues. For instance, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held hearings on Food and Drug Administration regulation of over-the-counter drugs and Public Health Service Act health workforce programs. The Senate Finance Committee held hearings on the Graham-Cassidy health insurance reform bill, CHIP funding reauthorization, and health … Continue Reading

House Panels Advance Medicare Policy Bills, including Hike in Civil/Criminal Penalties

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health has approved the following seven bipartisan bills addressing the Medicare Part B program: HR 3245, which would significantly increase various Medicare civil and criminal penalties under sections 1128A and 1128B of the Social Security Act, which sponsors note have not been updated in 20 years. Maximum penalties … Continue Reading

Ways & Means Committee Approves Alternative Pathway for Stark Act Technical Violations

The House Ways and Means Committee has approved legislation to create an alternative pathway to resolve certain technical violations of the Stark physician self-referral law. The bill, HR 3726, would allow an entity or individual to voluntarily disclose previous inadvertent technical noncompliance (e.g., the arrangement is not signed by one or more parties to the … Continue Reading

Senate HELP Committee to Examine Ways to Stabilize Individual Health Insurance Markets

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions is holding a series of hearings in September 2017 to focus on “actions Congress should take to stabilize and strengthen the individual health insurance markets.” Specifically, a September 6 hearing will feature five state insurance commissioners, and second hearing on September 7 will include testimony from … Continue Reading

With All Eyes on Senate ACA-Repeal Debate, House Passes Bill to Tweak Stark Law and Other Medicare Part B Policies

While the Capitol Hill spotlight is focused on the Senate debate on legislation to repeal or revise the Affordable Care Act, the House of Representatives quietly approved by voice vote HR 3178, the Medicare Part B Improvement Act of 2017. The bipartisan bill would impact a number of Medicare policies, including the Stark physician self-referral … Continue Reading

House Committees Examine Health Care Policy Issues

Recent House of Representatives committee hearings have focused on a variety of health care policy issues, including the following: Energy and Commerce Committee hearings on: the growth and oversight of the 340B drug discount program; drug and device company communications, including clinical/economic data; state efforts to address the opioid crisis; and extension of safety net … Continue Reading

Congressional Hearings, Markups Focus on Chronic Care, Drug Pricing, HHS Budget, Other Health Programs

House and Senate committees have held a number of hearings recently to focus on health policy topics, including the following: A Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee hearing on “The Cost of Prescription Drugs: How the Drug Delivery System Affects What Patients Pay,” the first of three planned hearings on prescription drug costs.  A … Continue Reading

House Energy & Commerce Committee Unanimously Approves FDA Reauthorization, Public Health Bills

On June 8, 2017, the Energy and Commerce Committee voted unanimously to approve an amended version of HR 2430, the FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) of 2017. The bill would extend the FDA prescription drug, medical device, generic drug, and biosimilar biological product user fee programs, which are scheduled to expire at the end of September.  … Continue Reading

Rose Garden Ceremony Notwithstanding, Finish Line Not in Sight for ACA Repeal Legislation

Although President Trump and House Republican leaders held a White House Rose Garden ceremony to celebrate House passage of legislation to partially repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the prospects for actual enactment of the bill into law are highly uncertain. The American Health Care Act of 2017 (HR 1628), approved by the House May … Continue Reading

Congressional Panels Tackle FDA Reauthorization Act and Other Health Policy Issues

On May 11, 2017, the Senate on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee approved S 934, a bill extend Food and Drug Administration user-fee programs for prescription drugs, medical devices, generic drugs, and biosimilar biological products. The legislation also includes various policy changes, including provisions intended to improve the medical device inspection process and … Continue Reading

Roundup of Recent Congressional Health Policy Hearings

A number of Congressional committees have recently held hearings on health policy issues, including the following: House Energy and Commerce Committee hearings on “Cybersecurity in the Heath Care Sector: Strengthening Public-Private Partnerships” and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) medical device user fees. A House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on “Federally Funded Cancer Research: … Continue Reading

House Republican Leaders Tout “Progress” on ACA Repeal/Replace Efforts Before Congressional Recess

The House of Representatives has adjourned for a two-week recess without a full House vote on the Republican party’s signature legislation — the American Health Care Act (AHCA) — to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Since Republican leaders pulled the AHCA from House consideration on March 24, 2017 due to insufficient support, … Continue Reading

House Overwhelmingly Approves Insurance Antitrust Reform Legislation

The House of Representatives has approved HR 372, the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2017, which would repeal the antitrust exemption for health insurance companies provided under the McCarran-Ferguson Act (although the antitrust exemption for certain collaborative activities between health insurance businesses would be retained). HR 372 was approved by a vote of 416-7, … Continue Reading

House GOP Moving Ahead on Controversial ACA Repeal & Replace Bill; First of Three Planned Phases of Health Reform

The House of Representatives is moving ahead on the Republican plan -– the American Health Care Act (AHCA) – that would repeal and replace major provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). On March 16, 2017, the House Budget Committee approved sending the bill to the full House as part of fiscal year 2017 budget … Continue Reading

Congressional Panels Examining Pharmaceutical Distribution Systems, FDA Drug User Fees

Two Congressional committees are holding hearings this week on FDA user fees: a March 21 Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing and a March 22 Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing. In addition, on March 22, 2017, the House Oversight Subcommittee on Health Care is holding a hearing on “Examining the Impact … Continue Reading

House Judiciary Committee Advances Medical Liability, Insurance Antitrust Reform Bills

The House Judiciary Committee has approved HR 1215, the “Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017.” The bill includes a variety of medical liability reforms, including a $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages, limits on contingency fees, and allocation of damages in direct proportion to fault. The provisions would apply only to claims concerning the provision … Continue Reading

House Panel Votes to Tighten Medicaid Income Standards

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health has approved two bills that would modify Medicaid eligibility rules to consider additional sources of income. First, HR 829 would establish standards for states to consider lottery winnings and other lump sum payments for purposes of determining Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) for Medicaid and CHIP eligibility.  … Continue Reading

Congressional Budget Resolution Provides Framework for ACA Repeal Legislation, Hearings Focusing on ACA Issues

The House and Senate have approved a budget resolution (S.Con.Res. 3) providing instructions to Congressional committees on the federal spending framework for fiscal years 2017 through 2026. Notably, the resolution would enable the Senate to repeal provisions of the ACA pertaining to spending and revenues on a simple majority vote, without opportunity for filibuster. Such … Continue Reading
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