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.


Actions in Lame-Duck Session Undetermined

With the House of Representatives scheduled to return for legislative business on November 12th for two weeks and then again from December 1-12, it remains to be seen how much legislative work will be accomplished in the ‘lame-duck’ session beyond addressing a continuing resolution (CR) – the fiscal year (FY) 2015 appropriations extensions with is set to expire on December 11th. In advance of Tuesday’s congressional elections, Republican leaders have yet to show their preference for gaining agreement on an omnibus appropriations bill or another short-term CR which would probably extend into February or March 2015. The expected request by the Administration for additional Ebola funding will make the decision on the level and form that the extension will take that much more difficult.

Revised CDC Ebola Guidelines Receive Provider Approval

The Administration reacted to criticisms from Republicans and others by stepping-up the protections health providers should follow in treating potential and actual Ebola patients. The new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) remain voluntary, however, while New Jersey continues to enforce a strict mandatory quarantine of travelers returning from West Africa and several other states have or are considering the stricter path to protect their citizens. Also, the governor of Maine took action against a nurse returning from the area after she left her home and engaged with the media and general public, but a District Court judge eased restrictions. Despite the CDC’s adherence to voluntary guidelines and the quarantine of returning health workers, the Secretary of Defense followed the advice of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to require all troops returning from the affected areas to undergo a mandatory 21-day quarantine. Up to 4,000 military personnel may ultimately be deployed to West Africa to address the crisis while the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) takes a lead role in the effort. It is likely that the Administration will request supplemental funding for USAID and other agencies involved in the Disaster Assistance Response Team (CDC, DoD, Interior and Forest Service) when Congress reconvenes next week.

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