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COVID-19 Update: $1 Trillion Stimulus Next Up

The Senate is beginning to draft what likely will be the largest emergency relief and fiscal stimulus legislation in the country’s history – more than $1 trillion – to address the mushrooming coronavirus pandemic. The heart of the emerging plan will be as much as $500 billion in rebate checks to individuals and households, likely … Continue Reading

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

CORONAVIRUS WORRIES CONTINUE AFTER EMERGENCY FUNDING BILL Congressional approval last week of emergency spending to address the coronavirus hasn’t allayed Capitol Hill’s concerns about preparedness and response as the impact of the virus in the United States rapidly escalates. Two lawmakers – Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz. – announced this weekend … Continue Reading

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

CONGRESS SPEEDS TOWARD EMERGENCY CORONAVIRUS FUNDING PACKAGE As novel coronavirus continues to sweep the globe, Congress and the White House are assembling a spending package with billions in emergency spending and new authorities to combat the crisis. Leaders hope to reach an agreement by as soon as this afternoon, which procedurally would allow the House … Continue Reading

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

AZAR TO TESTIFY THIS WEEK BEFORE HOUSE, SENATE COMMITTEES Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar faces a marathon week of testimony, appearing before four congressional committees to discuss his department’s fiscal 2021 budget. In addition to funding issues, Azar is likely to face questions on the federal government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. Last … Continue Reading

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

SURPRISE BILLING PROGRESS DRIVES THE WEEK Legislation to address surprise medical bills is moving forward this week, as two House committees mark up their own plans to protect patients. After progress stalled at the end of last year, the House Ways and Means Committee jump-started it by announcing it would move forward with its proposal. … Continue Reading

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

SURPRISE BILLING FIX REGAINING TRACTION? Legislation to address unexpected bills for out-of-network medical care appears to be making a comeback, after a committee turf battle stalled its progress at the end of last year. House leaders want to pass a bill by May, when they intentionally created a deadline for several popular health programs that … Continue Reading

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

CONCERNS ABOUT CORONAVIRUS GROW ON CAPITOL HILL As coronavirus cases continue to emerge in the United States and worldwide, lawmakers are seeking briefings from federal health officials about the outbreak that originated in China and what steps U.S. health agencies are taking to protect Americans. Five cases were confirmed in the United States, but there … Continue Reading

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

NEW SENATOR JOINS HEALTH COMMITTEE Newly sworn-in Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., is the newest member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Loeffler took the oath of office last week, replacing retired Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga. Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., praised Loeffler as having the background and skills to “immediately become an … Continue Reading

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

SPRING DEADLINE DRIVES 2020 HEALTH POLICY AGENDA Few policy issues consumed more political oxygen on Capitol Hill last year than prescription drug prices and surprise medical bills – but without significant legislative achievement on either. But Congress is going to try again, setting up a spring deadline to force action on key healthcare provisions. Despite … Continue Reading

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

ACA TAXES ON CHOPPING BLOCK IN YEAR-END BUDGET DEAL Congressional leaders are poised to announce an agreement today that would permanently repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) taxes on medical device manufacturers, insurers and high-cost health plans as part of a spending package that would avoid a government shutdown later this week. If the tax … Continue Reading

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

YEAR-END LEGISLATIVE OVERDRIVE This week is crunch time on a host of legislative priorities, and various health-related provisions hang in the balance. Lawmakers and staff worked all weekend negotiating on legislation to fund the government beyond next Friday’s deadline, when current funding expires. As the only true must-pass legislative vehicle before the end of the … Continue Reading

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

HEALTH PROVISIONS FACE UNCERTAINTY AS CONGRESS RETURNS FOR BUSY DECEMBER Congress returns to Washington this week after the Thanksgiving holiday with only 18 days before the government runs out of money – and that’s not even the most important issue lawmakers will face in what is shaping up as a cramped year-end calendar. In addition … Continue Reading

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

FDA NOMINATION HEARING DRIVES THE WEEK IN HEALTH POLICY President Trump’s nominee to lead the Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Stephen Hahn, will appear Wednesday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee for a hearing on his nomination. Hahn, an oncologist and chief medical executive at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, is … Continue Reading

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

COMPREHENSIVE DRUG BILL STALLS WHILE HOUSE PUSHES SMALLER MEASURES House Democrats are planning to take up more narrow bills addressing prescription drug costs while their broad legislation is delayed as the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) works on estimating its budgetary impacts. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said the Democrats’ bill now won’t receive a floor … Continue Reading

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

DEMOCRATS PRESS FOR PRE-THANKSGIVING VOTE ON DRUG PRICING BILL The House Ways and Means Committee last week approved an amended version of legislation that would overhaul how Medicare and private insurers reimburse for prescription drugs, setting up what Democrats hope will be a pre-Thanksgiving vote on the House floor. It was the third House committee … Continue Reading

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

HOUSE DEMOCRATS PRESS FORWARD ON DRUG PRICING LEGISLATION Returning from a two-week recess, House Democrats are entering a key phase in their drive to overhaul prescription drug costs, including requiring the government to negotiate prices with manufacturers. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., last week said a vote by the end of the month on … Continue Reading

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

PELOSI INTRODUCES DRUG PRICING BILL WHILE TRUMP PUSHES SENATE VERSION House Democrats introduced legislation last week to lower prescription drug prices – including allowing Medicare to negotiate prices with manufacturers – and set an aggressive timeline to approve the bill by Halloween. The legislation would allow the government to negotiate prices annually for at least … Continue Reading

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

PELOSI DRUG PRICE PLAN EXPECTED THIS WEEK House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is expected to release her long-awaited plan this week to address prescription drug costs, according to congressional staff. A draft summary of the proposal that circulated last week would allow the government to negotiate prices with manufacturers on 250 drugs and impose sweeping … Continue Reading

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

UPDATE ON DRUG PRICING LEGISLATION AS CONGRESS RECONVENES Congress reconvenes this week after a monthlong summer recess and begins what likely will be a final push toward overhauling prescription drug prices, but lack of consensus on the underlying policy and the intensifying 2020 presidential campaign will complicate efforts to advance a bill to President Donald … Continue Reading

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

Below is this week’s “Capitol Hill Healthcare Update,” which is posted on Mondays when Congress is in session. MAJOR HEALTH POLICY UNLIKELY IN POTENTIAL DEBT-SPENDING DEAL As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and the Trump administration edge closer to a sweeping agreement to avoid a government shutdown and debt default, it’s increasingly unlikely major healthcare … Continue Reading

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

Below is this week’s “Capitol Hill Healthcare Update,” which is posted on Mondays when Congress is in session. SENATORS RACE TO FINISH DRUG PRICING BILL AS TRUMP PLANS STALL With only 15 legislative days before a scheduled monthlong recess, Senate leaders are scrambling this week to seek consensus on ambitious legislation to lower prescription drug … Continue Reading

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

Below is this week’s “Capitol Hill Healthcare Update,” which is posted on Mondays when Congress is in session. McCONNELL WANTS BIPARTISAN DEAL ON DRUG PRICES BY JULY To schedule time for debate in the Senate on legislation to lower prescription drug prices, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., wants a bill that’s thoroughly bipartisan and ready … Continue Reading

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

Below is this week’s “Capitol Hill Healthcare Update,” which is posted on Mondays when Congress is in session. GRASSLEY CONFIRMS DELAY ON DRUG BILL WHILE ANOTHER COMMITTEE PLANS VOTES Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, last week confirmed that his planned drug pricing legislation won’t be unveiled until after lawmakers return from a the … Continue Reading

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

Below is this week’s “Capitol Hill Healthcare Update,” which is posted on Mondays when Congress is in session. GRASSLEY DRUG PRICING BILL LIKELY DELAYED UNTIL JULY Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, had hoped his panel could vote on legislation this month to tackle prescription drug prices and lower seniors’ out-of-pocket costs for medicine, … Continue Reading
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