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.


Zika Update

There are now a total of four Zika cases in Florida being investigated as the first incidents of local transmission, non-travel related infections. If confirmed, which officials say is highly likely, these cases would mean that local mosquitos in the continental United States now carry the virus. Officials anticipate that additional cases of local transmission may appear in the coming weeks. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has written to the President asking the administration to more quickly distribute the unused funding remaining to combat the virus. Rubio previously broke with his Party in support of fully funding the White House’s request for $1.9 billion to stem the spread of the mosquito-borne virus, but Congress adjourned for summer recess without coming to an agreement on Zika spending. ““It is unfortunate that Congress has failed to pass any kind of legislation this summer to deal with the Zika virus,” Rubio writes. “However, it is also deeply concerning that, according to figures provided by the Office of Management and Budget, most of the money reprogrammed by the Administration for the fight against Zika remains unspent.” Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) have called on Congress to immediately return from August recess to approve new funding to fight the Zika virus, while Congressional Republicans continue to blame Democrats for blocking the GOP’s funding bill before both chambers adjourned for the summer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their Zika guidance last week to warn that the virus could possibly be transmitted through sexual contact from women to men. The agency reports that there are now a total of at least 6,400 Zika case in the United States and territories – a more than 50 percent increase over the last two weeks.

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