On September 26, 2019 the Senate approved H.R. 4378, the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2020, and Health Extenders Act of 2019, which would fund the federal government through November 21, 2019.  The House has already approved the legislation, and President Trump is expected to sign the bill.  The legislation includes a number of health program

Congressional committees with jurisdiction over health care legislation continue to focus on the opioid crisis:

  • The Energy and Commerce held a hearing on “Combating the Opioid Crisis: Improving the Ability of Medicare and Medicaid to Provide Care for Patients” and a roundtable discussion on “Personal Stories from the Opioid Crisis.”
  • The House Oversight Healthcare Subcommittee examined “Local Responses and Resources to Curtail the Opioid Epidemic.”
  • A Senate Judiciary Committee hearing focused on “Defeating Fentanyl: Addressing the Deadliest Drugs Fueling the Opioid Crisis.”
  • The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing on S.2680, the Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018; the Committee is scheduled to vote on the legislation April 24.
  • The House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee will hold a hearing April 25 on “The Opioid Crisis: Stopping the Flow of Synthetic Opioids in the International Mail System.”

In other policy areas:
Continue Reading Congressional Hearings Focus on Health Care Innovation, Medicaid Fraud, Health Policy Legislation – But Spotlight Remains on Opioids

President Trump has signed into law a bill (P.L. 115-63) that extends the Medicare Intravenous Immune Globulin (IVIG) Demonstration through December 31, 2020. The law also extends through the first quarter of FY2018 (1) the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program, and (2) the Special Diabetes Program for Indians.

The President also

In preparation for legislative activity early next year, various lawmakers have issued open requests for feedback on several health policy initiatives. For instance:

  • The House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee chairman and ranking member have released a bipartisan bill including a variety of Medicare fraud/abuse provisions, covering such issues as recovery audit contractors, prevention of

CMS has announced its newest innovative delivery reform program, called the “Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative,” which will provide up to $840 million over four years to help clinicians share, adapt, and develop quality improvement strategies. CMS intends to make awards for the following two types of systems:

  • Practice Transformation Networks are peer-based learning networks

On November 12, 2013, the House of Representatives approved S. 330, the HIV Organ Policy Equity Act, which would eliminate the restriction on acquiring HIV-positive organs in order to permit research on transplants involving HIV-positive individuals (the Senate approved the bill in June). The House also passed S. 252, the Prematurity Research Expansion

Today, the Obama Administration released its proposed federal budget for fiscal year 2014. As widely reported, the budget incorporates an offer the President made to Congress in December 2012 to achieve nearly $1.8 trillion in additional deficit reduction over the next 10 years, including $401 billion in health savings (the Administration observes that this level of cuts would “provide more than enough deficit reduction to replace the damaging cuts required by the Joint Committee sequestration”).

Virtually all provider types – and drug manufacturers – would be impacted by the budget provisions, if adopted as proposed. The budget proposal is certainly subject to change during the legislative process, particularly as the House and Senate leadership pursue alternative budget frameworks, and indeed, gridlock could prevent significant action on entitlement reform this year. Nevertheless, the proposals bear careful monitoring because they could eventually be included in any long-elusive “grand bargain” to reform the Medicare program and reduce the federal debt.

Highlights of the Administration’s Medicare and Medicaid proposals include the following:

Continue Reading Obama Administration’s Proposed FY 2014 Budget Includes $401 Billion in Health Program Savings

The full House of Representatives has passed three health policy bills recently cleared by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. On February 4, 2013, the House approved H.R. 297, the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education (GME) Support Reauthorization Act of 2013 (which provides support to children’s hospitals for pediatric medical residency programs), and H.R. 225,

The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved three health policy bills on January 22, 2013, versions of which were passed by the full House during the last Congress. Specifically, the panel voted to approve: H.R. 297, the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education (GME) Support Reauthorization Act of 2013 (which provides support to children’s hospitals for

On September 20, 2011, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 2005 and H.R. 1852.  H.R. 2005, the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act of 2011, provides funding for surveillance, education, early detection, intervention, and research related to autism, and operation of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee.  H.R. 1852, the Children’s Hospital GME Support Reauthorization Act, provides

On August 15, 2011, CMS announced its decisions regarding which teaching hospitals are receiving reductions and/or increases to their direct graduate medical education (GME) and indirect medical education (IME) full-time equivalent (FTE) resident caps, as authorized by Section 5503 of the ACA. CMS has released a list of hospitals receiving FTE resident cap decreases

On July 21, 2011, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved S. 27, the Preserve Access to Affordable Generics Act, which would prohibit certain so-called “pay-for-delay” agreements in patent litigation settlements in which a brand-name pharmaceutical company compensates a generic pharmaceutical company for delays in generic entry. On July 28, 2011, the House Energy and Commerce

A number of Congressional panels have held hearings on health policy issues this month, and more are scheduled, including the following:

  • The House Energy and Commerce Committee has held hearings on: reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA); the ACA’s Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which is charged with helping to contain Medicare