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.


Senate Fast Tracks Reconciliation Bill

Before adjourning for a week-long recess, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) used a procedural motion to allow reconciliation legislation to skip the Senate’s committee process and be placed directly on the Senate calendar for action on the floor. McConnell also provided assurances that the package will include repeal of Planned Parenthood funding. There had been speculation last week that the Planned Parenthood provision had been dropped due to opposition from some moderate Republicans. Absent Democratic support for the bill, McConnell will need the support of 51 Republican senators for reconciliation to pass. Republicans currently hold a 54-member majority in the Senate, and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) have already suggested they will oppose the legislation because it does not fully repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The package will be taken up after Congress returns from their Thanksgiving recess.

National Drug Control Strategy Released

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy released its updated strategy last week. The document requests Congress to give Medicare the authority to restrict at-risk patients to a single primary care doctor and a single pharmacy to prescribe and fill their medications. This ‘lock-in’ practice is known as Drug Utilization Review and Restriction (DURR). 46 states and the District of Columbia Medicaid programs currently use DURR, but it is not explicitly permitted in the Medicare Part D statute and would require legislation to permit its use in Part D prescription drug plans.

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