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.


Opioid Funding Included in Spending Bill; House Opioid Package Conferees Appointed

Appropriators in the House of Representatives have included $103 million for programs to address the abuse of opioids in the fiscal year (FY) 2017 Commerce-Justice-Science spending bill. This money would help to fully fund the recently passed H.R. 5046, the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act of 2016. This spending level comes in below the $132 million to combat the opioid abuse epidemic included in the Senate measure advanced in April. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has appointed 21 Republicans and 14 Democrats to represent the House in a conference committee to reconcile the differences between each chamber’s version of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will lead the Republicans and Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) will lead the Democrats. The Senate has not named their conferees yet, and a final bill is expected to be negotiated and sent to the President’s desk by July.

Cassidy, Sessions Introduce ACA Alternative

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) have developed their own alternative to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Sessions/Cassidy plan (H.R. 5284) does not fully repeal the ACA, but would eliminate the individual and employer mandates as well as requirements for what a health insurance plan must cover. A flat sum in the amount of a $2,500 tax credit would be offered to eligible citizens to purchase health insurance. Rep. Sessions introduced the bill in the House (H.R. 5284) last week. Today, Sen. Cassidy and Rep. Sessions will hold a press conference to discuss the bill. Meanwhile, the House task force established by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is expected to release its outline of how to fully repeal and replace the ACA in coming weeks.

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