POLICY BRIEFINGS


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.


THIS WEEK'S BRIEFING - APRIL 29, 2019


E&C Requests Briefings on Maternal Mortality


Bipartisan leadership of the House Energy and Commerce Committee has sent letters to six federal agencies requesting information on efforts to address the rising rate of maternal morbidity and mortality in the U.S. The lawmakers request briefings on the subject from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Indian Health Service (IHS), and Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH). The number of pregnancy-related deaths has more than doubled since 1987, with significantly wide ethnic and racial disparities.


House Rules to Hold First Medicare For All Hearing This Week


The House Rules Committee will hold the first congressional hearing on the concept of Medicare For All this week. The chamber’s main health care committees – Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce – have not committed to holding a hearing on the subject. The Rules Committee will consider the measure (H.R. 1384) introduced by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.). Chairman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) has said that the idea deserves serious consideration as lawmakers work toward health care universal coverage in the U.S. While the bill has the support of 100 democratic co-sponsors, several of the Rules Committee democrats are still skeptical of the idea, including Reps. Donna Shalala (D-Fla.) and Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.). Rep. Shalala supports the expansion of Medicaid to more individuals, and Rep. Scanlon wishes to strengthen the Affordable Care Act (ACA) before transitioning to a public option system and Medicare for All. This week’s hearing will feature testimony from Dr. Dean Baker, Senior Economist, Center for Economic and Policy Research; Dr. Sara Collins, Vice President for Health Care Coverage and Access, The Commonwealth Fund; Dr. Doris Browne, Immediate Past-President, National Medical Association; Dr. Farzon Nahvi, Emergency Room Physician; Ms. Grace Marie-Turner, President, Galen Institute; and Dr. Charles Blahous, J. Fish and Lillian F. Smith Chair and Senior Research Strategist, Mercatus Center.

The Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) report on single-payer health care is scheduled to be released on May 1. The report will not be a formal score of Medicare for All; it is instead a response to House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth’s (D-Ky.) request for design considerations for establishing a single-payer health care system. The Budget Committee is expected to hold a hearing on the report sometime in May.


Finance Drug Pricing Bill Expected in June


Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has said that he is working with Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to introduce a bipartisan bill on drug pricing by mid-June. It remains unclear what the legislation will entail, but Grassley has not endorsed the policy being pushed by Democrats to allow Medicare to negotiate prices.



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