House to Vote on Additional Health Care Legislation
This week Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) announced that the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on two pieces of health care legislation. These bills are part of the third phase of Speaker Paul Ryan’s repeal and replace strategy. H.R. 2579, the Broader Options for Americans Act, was introduced by House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health Chairman Pat Tiberi (R-OH), and H.R. 1215, the Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017, was introduced by Rep. Steve King (R-IA). H.R. 2579 amends H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), as passed by the House of Representatives on May 4, 2017. The bill expands financial support for purchasing health insurance by allowing the health insurance tax credit created in the AHCA to also be available for Americans who have lost their group coverage as a result of losing their job. H.R. 1215 establishes provisions governing health care lawsuits where coverage for care was provided or subsidized by the federal government. The intent of the legislation is to reduce the burden the liability system places on the health care delivery system, lower health care costs, and increase health care access. Both pieces of legislation passed their committees of jurisdiction by party line votes and are scheduled for a vote on the House floor by the end of the week. While these bills could be incorporated into the Senate health care package, it is unlikely H.R. 2579 or H.R. 1215 would pass the Senate as stand-alone bills.
This Week’s Hearings:
- On Monday, June 12, the House Committee on Rules will hold a meeting to formulate a rule on S. 1094, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protecting Act; H.R. 2372, the Veterans Equal Treatment Ensures Relief and Access Now (VETERAN) Act; H.R. 2579, Broader Options for Americans Act; and H.R. 2581, the Verify First Act. The witnesses will be announced.
- On Tuesday, June 13, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) will hold a hearing titled “The Cost of Prescription Drugs: How the Drug Delivery System Affects What Patients Pay.” The witnesses will be:
- Mr. Dan Mendelson, President, Avalere Health
- Mr. Allan Coukell, Senior Director of Health Programs, Pew Charitable Trusts
- Dr. Paul Howard, Ph. D, Senior Fellow and Director of Health Policy, Manhattan Institute
- Dr. Gerard Anderson, Professor of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
- On Tuesday, June 13, The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will hold a hearing on various legislation including S. 1250, to amend the Indian Health Care Improvement Act to improve the recruitment and retention of employees in the Indian Health Service, restore accountability in the Indian Health Service, improve health services, and for other purposes. The witnesses will be announced.
- On Tuesday, June 13, the House Committee on Rules will hold a hearing on H.R. 1215, Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017. The witnesses will be announced.
- On Wednesday, June 14, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing titled “Examining the Extension of Safety Net Health Programs.” The witnesses will be announced.
- On Wednesday, June 14, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs will hold a markup of H.R. 1415, the End Neglected Tropical Diseases Act.
- On Thursday, June 15, the Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies will hold a hearing on proposed budget estimates and justification for FY 2018 for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The witness will be:
- The Honorable Tom Price, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
CMS Revises Requirements for Long-Term Care Facilities
On Monday, June 5, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule to revise the requirements that Long-Term Care (LTC) facilities must meet to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The proposed rule removes provisions prohibiting LTC facilities’ use of binding pre-dispute arbitration, reversing a final rule issued by the Obama Administration in September of 2016. Advocates for the elderly believe allowing pre-dispute arbitration puts nursing home residents at risk, while LTC centers argue it prevents needless lawsuits. The proposed rule is consistent with the Administration’s approach to eliminating unnecessary burdens on providers. The proposed rule was posted in the Federal Register on June 8, 2017, and is open for public comment for 60 days.
CMS Issues Request for Information
On Thursday, June, 8, CMS issued a Request for Information (RFI) titled “Reducing Regulatory Burdens and Improving Health Care Choices to Empower Patients.” The RFI seeks feedback from the public on how to create a more flexible regulatory structure for the individual and small group market and follows the Market Stabilization Final Rule released by CMS on April 18, 2017.The goal of the RFI is to identify regulations that are not necessary and may interfere with regulatory reform policies, and revise them to be more patient centered. The RFI will be published in the Federal Register on June 12, 2017, and is open for public comment for 30 days.