Hart Health Strategies provides a comprehensive policy briefing on a weekly basis. This in-depth health policy briefing is sent out at the beginning of each week. The health policy briefing recaps the previous week and previews the week ahead. It alerts clients to upcoming congressional hearings, newly introduced bills, regulatory announcements, and implementation activity related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and other health laws.


Biden Issues Cancer Moonshot Report

Last week, Vice President Biden released the administration’s plans and objectives for the Cancer Moonshot Initiative. The report is a product of the Cancer Moonshot Task Force, a federal panel with representation from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the National Institutes of
Health (NIH), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In order to reach the program’s goal of achieving 10 years of cancer research in the span of only five years, the report recommends a greater emphasis be placed on widespread data sharing. The report explains that a more robust workforce with the expertise necessary to subsequently analyze these large volumes of data is needed. The task
force recommends the use of dedicated funding for undergraduate and graduate education programs to help ensure that clinical investigators are able to share and analyze data. The report also highlights the goal of accelerating the development of cures through faster research and approval timelines for treatments. The Task Force recommends improvement in collaboration between scientific disciplines,
federal cancer detection and prevention, and access to high-quality health care. Ultimately, the report explains that the “Cancer Moonshot is about the entire cancer ecosystem working together to use our resources and tools intelligently and aggressively to catalyze improvements in care and our understanding of cancer.” The Task Force reiterates the White House request for $1 billion to be appropriated in fiscal year (FY) 2017 for the Moonshot, and Vice President Biden urged lawmakers to approve this additional funding. In their remarks, both the President and the Vice President indicated that that they will continue to be involved in the initiative after the end of the Obama administration.

Administration Explains Zika Spending Details

The Administration has offered new details about how it will spend the $1.1 billion in emergency supplemental funding to combat the Zika virus included in the continuing resolution (CR) passed by Congress last month. The $387 million allocated to the Public Health and Social Services Emergency
Fund will be used for preparedness and response efforts across the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services (HHS). This includes $75 million for the reimbursement of health care providers caring for
the uninsured in areas with active Zika transmission, and $46 million to expand health services in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will award $50 million for the establishment of regional centers researching mosquito-borne diseases, plus an additional $25 million in state and local funding. The CDC will also award up to $120 million to support local disease tracking and diagnostic infrastructure. The emergency supplemental funding also helped to restore the $44 million that had previously been diverted from the CDC’s general emergency preparedness funds.

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