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.


Senate Sends Opioid Bill to President Trump for His Signature

The Senate voted to approve a package of compromise bills aimed at addressing the opioid crisis by a vote of 98-1 last week. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) was the only member to vote against the legislation. The wide-ranging bill would approve new grants for substance use disorder (SUD) treatment, expand reimbursement for inpatient drug rehabilitation services, and crack down on the importation of illicit opioids from other countries through the postal system. The bill has been sent to the President for his signature. While H.R. 6 received strong bipartisan support in both chambers, many lawmakers believe that more work remains to be done and that additional funding is necessary to sustain a response to the crisis. Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Greg Walden (R-Ore.) has also said that his panel plans to continue its investigation into the role of opioid manufacturers in the crisis.

The House of Representatives has recessed until after the November midterm elections, but the Senate plans to spend this week resuming work to confirm more of the President’s nominees for circuit and district court judges. The chamber may also try to clear water-infrastructure legislation (S. 3021) amended and passed by the House last month.

Kavanaugh Sworn In As Supreme Court Justice

Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as an associate justice of the Supreme Court on Saturday. The Senate confirmed Kavanaugh by a vote of 50-48 over the weekend, following weeks of debate over the allegations against Kavanaugh of sexual assault and misconduct. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) was the only Republican on the record in opposition to the nominee. She voted ‘present’ to allow Sen. Steven Daines (R-Mont.) to miss the vote to attend his daughter’s wedding and keep the vote margin the same as if Daines were there to vote. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) was the only Democrat to vote in support of Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh’s confirmation creates a strong 5-4 conservative majority on the Supreme Court. He will begin work immediately and start hearing cases this week.

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