POLICY BRIEFINGS


E-Cigarettes Remain Bipartisan Focus on the Hill


Chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) has threatened to “seek compulsory process” against Juul following its failure to comply with the panel’s investigation into increasing rates of youth vaping. Lawmakers requested information from Juul in July detailing which schools received funding from the company to implement programming to prevent teen vaping and which schools used Juul’s curriculum. The panel also sought documents related to the contract between Juul and tobacco company Altria. According to the letter from Rep. Krishnamoorthi sent last week, Juul has missed several deadlines to provide the requested information and has violated its promise to cooperate with the committee’s investigation. He plans to consider a subpoena if Juul does not comply with the request for information by October 1. Krishnamoorthi, along with Reps. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and Peter King (R-N.Y.), also announced the formation of a new congressional caucus aimed at curbing the country’s teen-vaping epidemic last week.

In a letter to acting Commissioner of Food and Drugs Ned Sharpless, a bipartisan group of senators have called on the FDA to immediately remove all pod- and cartridge-based e-cigarettes from the market until manufacturers can prove that they benefit the public health. The FDA has already stated that it intends to remove all flavored e-cigarettes from the market until they can be reviewed. The lawmakers are pushing for this same standard to apply to all e-cigarette products. The letter was sent by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).


Court Rules Against CMS Site-Neutral Payment Policy


The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) site-neutral payment policy exceeds the agency’s statutory authority in reducing the payment rate for clinic services at off-campus provider-based clinics. The policy, which was contained in last year’s hospital outpatient payment rule, would have set the same payment rate for Medicare patients in off-campus, hospital-based outpatient departments as the lower reimbursement rate received by freestanding physician offices. The regulation went into effect January 1st and was scheduled to be phased in over two years. It is estimated that the policy would have effectively cut $300 million in Medicare spending to the hospital-based facilities this year. CMS had hoped to discourage hospitals from building new facilities in order to receive the higher Medicare payment rates for certain clinic-visit services.


Upcoming Congressional Hearings and Markups


House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy hearing “Don’t Vape: Examining the Outbreak of Lung Disease and CDC’s Urgent Warning Not to Use E-Cigarettes;” 10:00 a.m., 2154 Rayburn Bldg.; September 24

House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing titled “Sounding the Alarm: The Public Health Threats of E-Cigarettes;” 10:00 a.m., 2123 Rayburn Bldg.; September 25

House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health hearing “MISSION Critical: Care in the Community Update;” 10:00 a.m., 210 Capitol Bldg.; September 25

House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies hearing “Investments in Medical Research at Five Institutes and Centers of the National Institutes of Health;” 10:00 a.m., 2358-C Rayburn Bldg.; September 25

House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing “Making Prescription Drugs More Affordable: Legislation to Negotiate a Better Deal for Americans;” 10:30 a.m., 2322 Rayburn Bldg.; September 25

Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing to examine promoting healthy aging, focusing on living your best life long into your golden years; 2:30 p.m., 562 Dirksen Bldg.; September 25

House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Technology Modernizations hearing titled “The Future of VA Scheduling: Implementing a Commercial Off the Shelf Scheduling Solution at the Department of Veterans Affairs;” 10:00 a.m., 210 Capitol; Sept. 26

House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions hearing “Making Health Care More Affordable: Lowering Drug Prices and Increasing Transparency;” 2:00 p.m., 2175 Rayburn Bldg.; September 26

House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health field hearing on the public health threat posed by gun violence; time TBD, University of Chicago Medical Center; October 3


Recently Introduced Health Legislation


H.Res.557 — Expressing support for designation of September 2019, as “National Dystonia Awareness Month” and raising awareness and understanding of the disorder of dystonia; Sponsor: Rep. Levin, Andy [D-MI-9]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.R.4336 — To amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to align open enrollment periods for Exchange plans with the deadline for filing Federal income tax returns, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Bera, Ami [D-CA-7]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.Res.559 — Expressing support for designation of the week of September 15, 2019, through September 21, 2019, as “Balance Awareness Week”; Sponsor: Rep. Johnson, Eddie Bernice [D-TX-30]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.R.4350 — To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to modernize payments for ambulatory surgical centers under the Medicare program, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Larson, John B. [D-CT-1]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means

H.R.4353 — To amend the Public Health Service Act to establish a grant program to provide self-harm and suicide prevention services in primary care offices, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. DeSaulnier, Mark [D-CA-11]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

S.2481 — A bill to facilitate effective research on and treatment of neglected tropical diseases through coordinated domestic and international efforts; Sponsor: Sen. Brown, Sherrod [D-OH]; Committees: Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

S.2492 — A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to provide best practices on student suicide awareness and prevention training and condition State educational agencies, local educational agencies, and tribal educational agencies receiving funds under section 520A of such Act to establish and implement a school-based student suicide awareness and prevention training policy; Sponsor: Sen. Gardner, Cory [R-CO]; Committees: Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

H.Con.Res.63 — Expressing the sense of Congress that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services should take action to ensure that home infusion therapy services are accessible to all Medicare beneficiaries; Sponsor: Rep. Engel, Eliot L. [D-NY-16]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means

H.R.4370 — To amend title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to furnish hyperbaric oxygen therapy to veterans with traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder; Sponsor: Rep. Biggs, Andy [R-AZ-5]; Committees: House - Veterans’ Affairs

H.R.4379 — To amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to require qualified health plans to have in place a process to remove from publicly accessible provider directories of such plans providers that are no longer within the network of such plans, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Axne, Cynthia [D-IA-3]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.R.4381 — To effectively staff the public elementary schools and secondary schools of the United States with school-based mental health services providers; Sponsor: Rep. Clark, Katherine M. [D-MA-5]; Committees: House - Education and Labor



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