POLICY BRIEFINGS


W&M Creates New Health Task Force


The House Ways and Means Committee has announced the creation of the Rural and Unserved Communities Health Task Force. The bipartisan group will focus on the challenges of delivering health care in rural and underserved areas and consider policy options that could improve outcomes and care in these communities. The effort will be led by four co- chairs: Brad Wenstrup, D.P.M. (R-Ohio), Jodey Arrington (R-Texas), Danny Davis (D-Ill.), and Terri Sewell (D-Ala.). The task force’s first meeting will be held on July 25.


Treasury Expands HSA Preventive Benefits for Chronic Conditions


The Department of Treasury has expanded the preventive care benefits that can be provided by high-deductible health plans paired with health savings accounts (HSAs) to include medical care services, devices, and prescription drugs for certain chronic conditions, including asthma, congestive heart failure, diabetes, coronary artery disease, osteoporosis, hypertension, liver disease, heart disease, and depression. The new guidance will allow first dollar coverage of these items, meaning the products will not count against the individual’s deductible before the insurer would pay for these health expenses.


MedPAC Releases 2019 Data Book


The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has released its 2019 data book on health care spending and the Medicare program. The book provides details on national health care and Medicare spending, beneficiary demographics, payer financial liability, dual-eligible beneficiaries, Medicare quality of care, acute inpatient services, ambulatory care, post-acute care, Medicare Advantage, and prescription drugs.


Upcoming Congressional Hearings and Markups


House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy hearing titled “Examining JUUL’s Role in the Youth Nicotine Epidemic: Part I;” 9:00 a.m., 2154 Rayburn Bldg.; July 24

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing titled, “True Transparency? Assessing Wait Times Five Years after Phoenix;” 10:00 a.m., 210 House Visitors Center; July 24

Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs hearing to examine confronting Ebola, focusing on addressing a 21st century global health crisis; 2:30 p.m., 419 Dirksen Bldg.; July 24

House Veterans Affairs Technology Modernization Subcommittee hearing titled “VistA Transition: Assessing the Future of an Electronic Health Records Pioneer;” 10:00 a.m., 210 House Visitors Center; July 25

House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism hearing titled “Homeland Security Implications of the Opioid Crisis;” 10:00 a.m., 310 Cannon Bldg.; July 25

House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy hearing titled “Examining JUUL’s Role in the Youth Nicotine Epidemic: Part II;” 2:00 p.m., 2154 Rayburn Bldg.; July 25

House Oversight and Reform hearing titled “The Patient Perspective: The Devastating Impacts of Skyrocketing Drug Prices on American Families;” 9:30 a.m., 2154 Rayburn Bldg.; July 26



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