HELP Advances Four Health Bills

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee advanced four bipartisan pieces of healthrelated legislation last week. The Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act (S. 2076) would create public health centers of excellence to increase Alzheimer’s disease detection, data collection, and research. The Improving Access to Maternity Care Act (H.R. 315) would strengthen access and infrastructure for maternal care and charge HRSA with identifying geographic regions with shortages of maternal health providers. The Traumatic Brain Injury Program Reauthorization Act of 2018 (S. 3657) would reauthorize the federal program that funds home and community-based care for individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Finally, S. 3482 would reauthorize the Emergency Medical Services for Children Program, which works to ensure that children and adolescents receive appropriate care during health emergencies. The bills were advanced by voice vote for consideration by the full Senate.

Hyde-Smith Prevails in Final Senate Race of the Midterm Cycle

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) defeated former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy (D) in the last Senate race of the 2018 midterm cycle. Tuesday’s runoff was triggered because no candidate received 50 percent of the vote in the Nov. 6 election. Hyde-Smith is a former state agricultural commissioner who was appointed to the Senate after Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) retired due to health reasons earlier this year. Hyde-Smith’s victory secures a 53-47 majority for Republicans in the upper chamber for the 116th Congress, up from the current 51-49 balance of power. Three weeks after the midterm elections, the final numbers for the House of Representatives have also been set. Democrats picked up 40 seats for a 235- 200 majority.

Upcoming Congressional Hearings and Meetings

12/5 – House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing “Examining the Availability of SAFE Kits at Hospitals in the United States;” 10:15 a.m., 2322 Rayburn Bldg.

House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs hearing “Tracking Transformation: VA MISSION Act Implementation;” 10:00 a.m., 334 Cannon Bldg.; December 6

House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on government Operations and Subcommittee on Health Care, Benefits, and Administrative Rules joint hearing “Exploring Alternatives to Fetal Tissue Research;” 10:00 a.m., 2154 Rayburn Bldg.; December 6

Recently Introduced Health Legislation

S.Res.705 — A resolution designating December 3, 2018, as “National Phenylketonuria Awareness Day”; Sponsor: Sen. Isakson, Johnny [R-GA]; Submitted in the Senate, considered, and agreed to without amendment and with a preamble by Unanimous Consent.

S.3656 — A bill to authorize the Department of Energy to conduct collaborative research with the Department of Veterans Affairs in order to improve healthcare services for veterans in the United States, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Sen. Ernst, Joni [R-IA]; Committees: Senate - Energy and Natural Resources

S.3657 — A bill to reauthorize the Traumatic Brain Injury program; Sponsor: Sen. Hatch, Orrin G. [R-UT]; Committees: Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

S.3660 — A bill to improve the health of minority individuals, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Sen. Hirono, Mazie K. [D-HI]; Committees: Senate – Finance

H.R.7177 — To amend title III of the Public Health Service Act and titles XI and XVIII of the Social Security Act to accelerate the adoption of value-based payment and delivery arrangements among health care stakeholders intended to coordinate care, improve patient outcomes, share accountability, or lower costs, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Paulsen, Erik [R-MN-3]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means

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