POLICY BRIEFINGS


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'S BRIEFING - MAY 28, 2019


Congress Fails to Reach Budget Caps, Debt Ceiling Agreement Before Memorial Day Recess


Before adjourning for Memorial Day recess, lawmakers appeared to make progress in negotiations on a deal to increase spending caps over the next two years and to raise the debt ceiling beyond 2020. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) met with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, and acting White House budget director Russell Vought last week. While the meeting concluded without a final agreement, lawmakers seemed optimistic about moving forward with a two-year bipartisan deal to raise spending caps and avoid the potential for another government shutdown. Addressing the debt ceiling deadline, which is projected to occur in September or October, would be a part of the eventual spending deal. The administration appears supportive of bundling a spending caps deal with the debt limit increase. The White House had previously indicated support for a year-long continuing resolution (CR) in the absence of a spending deal, or a one-year instead of two-year agreement, while moving separately on the debt ceiling. Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) also met with the President and senior officials last week to urge the White House not to let sequestration take effect. Sequestration spending cuts are due to take place in January if no deal is reached. As Congress and the administration continue to work toward a consensus on overall spending levels, Democrats have stated that they remain committed to parity between any spending increases for defense and domestic spending.

Some on Capitol Hill have expressed concerns about the potential impact of the President’s recent threat to shut down all bipartisan negotiations in the midst of Democratic investigations into his businesses and taxes. White House officials, however, have stated that the President is still willing to negotiate a budget agreement with Congress.

While the President’s declaration may possibly threaten bipartisan negotiations between Congress and the White House on drug pricing, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has stated that work to strike a bipartisan deal among members of his panel continues. His package, which is expected to be unveiled sometime in June, will focus on increasing generic competition and possibly include a cap on seniors’ Part D out-of-pocket expenses. Sen. Grassley has previously criticized measures to allow Medicare to negotiate prices in Part D, an idea that was being discussed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in her talks with the White House.

The Senate is scheduled to return from Memorial Day recess on June 3; the House of Representatives will reconvene on June 4.



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