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.


This Week in Congress

The House of Representatives plans to vote on a package of bills this week that would retroactively lift the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) employer mandate penalties and delay the “Cadillac tax” on high-cost employer health plans until 2023. H.R. 3798, the Save American Workers Act, would also change the definition of full-time employee from 30 hours to 40 hours per week for the purposes of mandatory employer health care coverage. Additionally, the House may vote on the conference report to H.R. 5895, the Energy-Water/Legislative Branch/Military Construction-Veterans Affairs appropriations bill, according to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

The Senate plans to vote this week on a package of opioid-related measures. The bipartisan Senate substitute amendment to H.R. 6 includes over 70 proposals originating from four Senate committees. Any bill that passes the Senate will still need to be conferenced with the House’s opioid bill before going to the president for his signature. The completed conference bill is not expected to be voted on until after the midterm elections.

The Senate also plans to vote this week on S. 2554, legislation that would ban gag clauses for drug plans providing employee benefits and insurance coverage on the exchanges. The Senate passed S. 2553, which bans the use of gag clauses for Medicare beneficiaries, by unanimous consent last week, while the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee advanced the House version of the bill on Friday.

Congress will return to work on Wednesday following the Rosh Hashanah holiday.

Senate Passes Children’s Hospital GME Reauthorization

The Senate passed H.R. 5385, the Dr. Benjy Frances Brooks Children’s Hospital GME Support Reauthorization Act of 2018 by unanimous consent last week. The bill will reauthorize the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program for five years. The House of Representatives passed H.R. 5385 by voice vote in July. It will now be sent to the President’s desk for his signature.

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