United States: Capitol Hill Healthcare Update – March 19, 2018

CONGRESS WORKS TO PASS BUDGET BEFORE FRIDAY'S SHUTDOWN DEADLINE

House leaders are pushing to schedule a vote this week on a $1.3 trillion budget agreement that would give the Senate enough time to pass it before a Friday deadline when government funding expires.

Without action this week by Congress, the government would shut down for the third time this fiscal year. A series of unresolved policy disagreements – including about healthcare – has prevented lawmakers from reaching an agreement to fund the government through fiscal 2018, which ends Sept. 30.

House leaders say they hope to wrap up discussions today and release legislative text of the budget agreement tonight, setting up a House vote Wednesday. The Senate would follow suit, likely Friday.

Over the weekend, leaders were still haggling over thorny policy disputes, including authorizing billions of dollars to fund the Affordable Care Act's cost-sharing payments to lower individuals' insurance premiums. But a flash point remains concerning whether the underlying bill also would prohibit taxpayer-subsidized plans from covering abortions.

Other healthcare provisions still being debated include efforts by pharmaceutical manufacturers to reduce their required contributions to close the Medicare Part D prescription drug donut hole and funding a new reinsurance program to reduce insurance plan premiums. Potential changes to Medicare's outpatient transitional pass-through rules and reimbursements for generic biologic drugs also are candidates for inclusion in the budget bill.

HOUSE TO TRY AGAIN ON 'RIGHT-TO-TRY' LEGISLATION

After failing last week to approve legislation that would give terminally ill patients wider access to prescription drugs that are still being studied in clinical trials, House leaders said they will vote again this week.

Last week's vote was just short of the supermajority needed to approve the legislation under special fast-track procedures. This week's vote would require only a simple majority, virtually ensuring the bill's passage in the House.

Only two House Republicans opposed the bill last week. Democrats – largely echoing the position of the pharmaceutical industry – say the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) existing compassionate-use program is sufficient to provide terminally ill patients with access to treatments that have yet to win agency approval. Both the House bill and separate Senate legislation would apply only to prescription drugs, not to medical devices.

PHYSICIANS' PAY, NOMINATIONS AND OPIOID POLICIES TO DOMINATE HILL HEARINGS THIS WEEK

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a series of hearings this week on the opioid crisis, including examining the role of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Acting DEA chief Robert Patterson will testify Tuesday at an Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing that will focus on the panel's yearlong investigation into alleged pill dumping in West Virginia.

Separately, the committee's Health Subcommittee will hold a two-day hearing beginning Wednesday to examine prevention policies and the public health sector's role in curbing the crisis. The subcommittee will review two dozen opioid-related bills, including modifying the FDA breakthrough pathway designation to spur approval of abuse-deterrent opioids.

The House Education and the Workforce Health Subcommittee will hold a hearing Tuesday on a recent Labor Department rule on association health plans. The panel has legislative jurisdiction over ERISA-based health policies.

The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing Tuesday on two Health and Human Services (HHS) nominees. John Bartrum, who is a former senior congressional and White House budget aide, is currently a partner and lobbyist at the Squire Patton Boggs law firm. He was nominated by President Donald Trump last summer to serve as HHS assistant secretary for financial resources.

The committee also will consider Lynn Johnson's nomination to serve as an HHS assistant secretary for family support. Johnson currently is the executive director of a county health department in Colorado.

Senior Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) leaders are expected to participate in the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee hearing Wednesday examining implementation of the 2015 Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act physician payment policy.

ALEXANDER: TRANSPARENCY NEEDED IN 340B DRUG PROGRAM

Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said last week that hospitals participating in the 340B prescription drug discount program need to disclose how they use the $6 billion they have saved since 2015. During a hearing by Alexander's committee, one hospital official testified that 340B entities are worried that increased record keeping would be burdensome and that the data could be used to restrict the program, which was designed to underwrite increased hospital services to low-income populations.

Senate Democrats on the committee said the real issue is the cost of prescription drugs, while committee Republicans questioned the explosive growth of the 340B program.

Witnesses included Dr. Bruce Siegel of America's Essential Hospitals; Lori Reilly of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America; Sue Veer, representing the National Association of Community Health Centers; and Joseph Hill for the American Society of Health System Pharmacists.

Alexander didn't say whether he would support legislation to increase hospital reporting requirements or limit hospitals' participation in the program. But he did pledge to hold another hearing on the 340B program later this year.

CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS CALL ON CMS TO IMPROVE MEDICAID DATA

Key healthcare leaders in Congress last week called on CMS to take steps to strengthen data acquisition and analysis to identify improper Medicaid payments.

Congress' watchdog arm, the Government Accountability Office, last year found that CMS lacks a plan to use data generated by the Transformed Medicaid Statistical Information System (T-MSIS). That program tracks information about beneficiary eligibility, enrollment and service utilization as well as claims data for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program.

The bipartisan leaders of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to CMS administrator Seema Verma asking a series of questions, including the status of the agency's ability to leverage the T-MSIS data to reduce states' reporting burden and enhance program integrity.

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.); the panel's top Democrat, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.); Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah); and the committee's ranking member, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) signed the letter.

HOUSE LAWMAKERS ESTABLISH HEALTHCARE INNOVATION CAUCUS

Bipartisan lawmakers in the House last week created the Healthcare Innovation Caucus, which they said was designed to spur legislation that encourages innovative policy ideas that lead to improved quality of care and lower costs.

Reps. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), Ron Kind (D-Wisc.), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) and Ami Bera (D-Calif.) formed the caucus.

Kelly said the group would focus on accelerating the shift from volume-based care to rewarding value and patient outcomes by advancing successful, innovative payment models and the technologies needed to support them.

Kelly and Kind serve on the Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over CMS and Medicare Part A and Part B. Mullin serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over FDA and Medicare Part B and Part D. Bera is a former physician.

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
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
BakerHostetler
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
BakerHostetler
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