On September 30, 2016, President Obama signed into law S 1878, the Advancing Hope Act, which modifies the FDA’s priority review voucher program for rare pediatric diseases and extends the program through December 31, 2016. In addition, the House has approved a number of health policy bills, including the following:
- HR 954, the “CO-OP Consumer Protection Act of 2016,” which would provide an exemption from the requirement to maintain minimum essential coverage if an individual’s Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) coverage is terminated. The bill was approved on a 258 to 165 vote. The Obama Administration opposes this bill and has announced that the President would veto it if it reaches his desk.
- HR 3537, the Synthetic Drug Control Act, which would add synthetic drug compounds to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The vote was 258 to 101.
- HR 1877, Mental Health First Aid Act, which would require the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to award grants to support mental health awareness training programs (approved by voice vote).
Any bills that are not approved by both chambers of Congress during the lame duck session need to start the legislative process over next year.