United States: Health Care: What's On The Radar For This Congressional Work Period

Last Updated: February 24 2016
Article by Rodney L. Whitlock, Alexander Hecht and Eli Greenspan

 The next Hill work period basically runs from February 22 to March 18. As Congress returns, here's a brief look at the pending health care issues on the radar for this work period.

Atmospherics

As much as health care geeks think the world revolves around health care, there are other issues in play that can affect consideration of health care issues. First, there is consideration of the FY 2017 Budget. It is unclear whether House and Senate Republicans are ready to move forward with a budget this year (the 2015 year-end deal deemed the process for this year complete). Any budget is certain to have health related provisions. While not incredibly influential for the process this year, a budget exercise employs resources that could be used on other issues.

The more politically relevant issue is the Senate's reaction to the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Scalia. At some point this year, it will become clear that the Senate is no longer able to consider bills of even remote consequence because it is an election year. The battle over the nomination will increase the political temperature in the Senate. It is not clear if it will rise to the level of halting progress on other issues.

Issues

Opioids — The Senate is inching closer to a floor vote on the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which would enable the Attorney General to award grants to states to address opioid and heroin abuse. Whether this legislation can pass through both chambers of Congress remains to be seen, but we should get that answer in the next work period.

FDA Nominee — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed a motion before the recess to proceed with the nomination of Robert Califf to be FDA Commissioner, despite objections remaining from three Democratic Senators. McConnell has successfully driven a wedge between the Administration and the Democrats in the Senate, forcing Minority Leader Harry Reid to decide between allowing a vote on the Administration's pick or standing up for three in his own caucus to block the Republican-controlled Senate from confirming the President's nominee. Earlier this month, Dr. Califf and the FDA called for a review of agency opioid policies, but Democratic Senators appear to be seeking more concrete action.

Mental Health — A legislative package to address mental health access is being negotiated between the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) and the White House, with the goal of getting a bill before the committee sometime next month. The goal is to encompass a broad range of proposals into one package. The Senate will still have to address other mental health efforts including Majority Whip John Cornyn's (R-TX) mental health initiative which has objections from Democrats over certain gun provisions. It also signals that the effort in the House led by Rep. Tim Murphy has stalled. Ultimately, the linkage between mental health and gun violence as this debate moves forward will determine prospects for passage.

Innovation Bills — Following a first markup during which each piece of legislation was approved out of committee but Democrats raised concerns about future markups, the Senate HELP Committee will convene March 9th to review another series of bills. While Chairman Lamar Alexander expressed openness to increased funding for NIH and FDA, getting a package out of committee without a spending guarantee seems highly unlikely. The pessimism among health policy observers is palpable, as some already look to next year's reauthorization of the Generic Drug User Free Amendments (GDUFA) as the vehicle to resolve differences if a larger package of innovation bills does not move in short order. The next series of bills deal with medical device regulations, priority review vouchers, and advancing research for rare diseases.

Chronic Care — The Senate Finance Committee is hoping to have a legislative package unveiled in the next work period, although Senator Johnny Isakson's (R-GA) spokesman said there is no firm timetable for the legislative package. Should a package be unveiled next month, its review by the Congressional Budget Office will likely forecast how quickly the legislation is considered by the committee. The committee may look to extend the Independence at Home Demonstration, a move which proponents say will save money.

MA Lobbying — Late last month, AHIP announced it was joining the lobbying effort against cuts to Medicare Advantage. This is a familiar two-step for Medicare Advantage proponents, who successfully lobbied against a rate reduction last year and have been successful in previous years. Last week, a bipartisan group of over 300 Representatives wrote to CMS urging them to avoid further cuts to Medicare Advantage in 2017, and the next work period will likely feature a lobbying effort to preface the 2017 Advance Notice and Draft Call Letter for Medicare Advantage and Part D, which is expected in early April.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Rodney L. Whitlock
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions