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.


House to Vote on Updated 21st Century Cures Wednesday

Last week, House and Senate health committee leadership released a new 21st Century Cures bill that includes $6.3 billion in provisions to accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of new cures and treatments. The package outlines discretionary funding for both the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The bill calls for $4.8 billion over the next decade to be appropriated to the NIH, including $1.4 billion for the Precision Medicine Initiative, $1.8 billion for the Cancer Moonshot, and $1.6 billion for the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. The FDA would receive $500 million in funding. An additional $1 billion is included for state grants to combat opioid abuse and addiction, and $30 million in funding would be provided for adult stem cell research. The new spending will be offset in part through $3.5 billion in cuts
to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Prevention and Public Health Fund. The 21st Century Cures bill will also be used as a vehicle for mental health reform measures, based off Rep. Tim Murphy’s (R-Pa.) H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, as well as work done in the Senate by Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.). The bill will create a new assistant secretary for mental health within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as well as a chief medical officer. Cures will also authorize grants for mental health issues like suicide prevention, as well as funding for mental illness treatment as an alternative to incarceration. While the House passed a version of Cures last year with overwhelming bipartisan support, further progress on the bill stalled due to negotiations over spending. The House will vote on the new package on November 30, with the Senate expected to take up the measure before Congress adjourns for the year. A section by section summary of the bill can be found here.

President-Elect Trump Outlines Day One Priorities

President-Elect Donald Trump released a new video in which he lists the top actions he will immediately take upon entering office. First on the agenda is the issuance of a notification of intent to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. Noticeably absent from Trump’s message was any mention of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Both congressional GOP leadership and Vice President-Elect Mike Pence have repeatedly stated that repeal of the 2010 health care law is a day one priority.

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