POLICY BRIEFINGS


WH to Miss Budget Deadline


The White House will not meet the official deadline for sending the President’s budget proposal, according to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). By law, the President is required to release his budget proposal by the first Monday in February, but the White House is currently working on a revised schedule due to the furloughing of many OMB staff during the recent partial government shutdown.


VA Releases Proposed Standards for Community Care


The Department of Veterans Affairs has released a proposed document containing new access standards for community and urgent care. The standards, which seek to implement the VA MISSION Act, would expand eligibility to community care for veterans who are not within a 30-minute drive of a VA medical facility. Veterans previously had to be more than 40 miles from a VA facility to qualify for subsidized private care. If the wait time for an appointment is more than 20 days for primary or mental health care services, veterans will be permitted to seek private health care services. Previous rules required a 30 day wait time. According to the Department, the new standards will increase the number of community careeligible veterans from eight percent to between 20 and 30 percent. The new standards are expected to be implemented in June and incur an additional cost of $1.1 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2019. While the changes were applauded by Republican lawmakers for better meeting the needs of veterans, Democrats expressed concern about the increased privatization of VA health care and the projected cost of the changes coming at the expense of internal VA medical services.


Upcoming Congressional Hearings and Meetings


Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing “How Primary Care Affects Health Care Costs and Outcomes;”10:00 a.m., 430 Dirksen Bldg.; February 5

Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs hearing to examine an implementation update on the Department of Veterans Affairs’ electronic health record modernization; 10:30 a.m., 124 Dirksen Bldg.; February 5

House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies oversight hearing “Impact on the Administration’s Policies Affecting the Affordable Care Act;” 10:00 a.m., 2358-C Rayburn Bldg.; February 6

House Judiciary Committee hearing “Preventing Gun Violence: A Call to Action;” 10:00 a.m., 2141 Rayburn Bldg.; February 6

House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing “Texas v. U.S.: the Republican Lawsuit and Its Impacts on Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions;” 10:15 a.m., 2322 Rayburn Bldg.; February 6

House Education and Labor Committee hearing “Examining Threats to Workers with Preexisting Conditions;” 10:15 a.m., 2175 Rayburn Bldg.; February 6


Recently Introduced Health Legislation


H.R.803 — To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to prohibit prescription drug plan sponsors and MAPD organizations under the Medicare program from retroactively reducing payment on clean claims submitted by pharmacies. Sponsor: Rep. Welch, Peter [D-VT-At Large]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means

S.228 — A bill to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to restructure the payment adjustment for non-emergency ESRD ambulance transports under the Medicare program. Sponsor: Sen. Cassidy, Bill [R-LA]; Committees: Senate - Finance

S.Res.29 —A resolution expressing support for the designation of a “Women’s Health Research Day”. Sponsor: Sen. Duckworth, Tammy [D-IL]; Committees: Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

S.237 — A bill to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to permit nurse practitioners and physician assistants to satisfy the documentation requirement under the Medicare program for coverage of certain shoes for individuals with diabetes; Sponsor: Sen. Brown, Sherrod [D-OH]; Committees: Senate – Finance

H.R.808 — To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to permit nurse practitioners and physician assistants to satisfy the documentation requirement under the Medicare program for coverage of certain shoes for individuals with diabetes; Sponsor: Rep. Blumenauer, Earl [D-OR-3]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means

H.R.813 — To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for temporary stabilization of Medicare Advantage payments following Hurricane Maria; Sponsor: Rep. Gonzalez-Colon, Jenniffer [R-PR-At Large]; Committees: House - Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce

H.R.817 — To combat the heroin epidemic and drug sample backlogs; Sponsor: Rep. Kuster, Ann M. [D-NH-2]; Committees: House – Judiciary



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