POLICY BRIEFINGS


Senate Confirms HHS Assistant Secretary for Legislation


The Senate has confirmed Sarah Arbes as HHS Assistant Secretary for Legislation. Arbes has been serving as the acting assistant secretary since June 2019, and was formally nominated by the President to the position last year. Before joining HHS in 2017, Arbes worked as deputy health policy director for the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee and as a legislative assistant for Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).


California Congressman in Critical Condition


Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.), 67, is in critical condition after being hospitalized with pneumonia. He was admitted to the hospital on March 13 after fracturing a rib when he fell running. According to his office, he has tested negative for the coronavirus.


Appeals Court Hears Arguments in Short-Term Plan Case


A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. heard arguments in the case against the Trump administration’s expansion of short-term health plans last week. While the health insurers challenging the policy argued that it undermines the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) individual marketplace, the three-panel judge did not seem convinced. The judges called attention to the fact that Congress did not prohibit short-term plans in the ACA and chose to exempt them from some of the law’s requirements and consumer protections, and questioned whether the short-term plans were any different from the other forms of exempt non-compliant coverage allowed to remain in place. Trump-appointed Judge Gregory Katsas even suggested that making short-term plans available in states that did not expand their Medicaid programs could be considered consistent with the ACA’s congressional intent to reduce the number of uninsured Americans.


Recently Introduced Health Legislation


H.R.6271 — To provide certain unemployment assistance for individuals impacted by quarantine order for a national or State public health emergency, including a virus threat or other health pandemic; Sponsor: Rep. Jackson Lee, Sheila [D-TX-18]; Committees: House - Transportation and Infrastructure

H.R.6272 — To amend the Public Health Service Act to authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services to make grants to eligible entities to train elementary and secondary school nurses on how to respond to a biological or chemical attack or an outbreak of pandemic influenza in a school building or on school grounds; Sponsor: Rep. Jackson Lee, Sheila [D-TX-18]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.R.6273 — To amend title XI of the Social Security Act to increase allotments under the Medicaid program for territories of the United States, to provide for a temporary increase in the Federal medical assistance percentage for States under the Medicaid program, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Butterfield, G. K. [D-NC-1]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.R.6274 — To improve State, local, and tribal public health security; Sponsor: Rep. Haaland, Debra A. [D-NM-1]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.R.6275 — To support children and students in responding to safety and health risks presented by qualifying emergencies, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Scott, Robert C. “Bobby” [D-VA-3]; Committees: House - Education and Labor

H.R.6281 — To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to codify and permanently extend the Medicare hospital wage index imputed rural floor; Sponsor: Rep. Pascrell, Bill, Jr. [D-NJ-9]; Committees: House - Ways and Means

H.R.6282 — To establish a commission to assess, evaluate, and address the dependence of the United States on medications, devices, and medical equipment from foreign countries; Sponsor: Rep. Ruiz, Raul [D-CA-36]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.R.6283 — To amend the Public Health Service Act to limit the liability of health care professionals who volunteer to provide health care services in response to a disaster; Sponsor: Rep. Ruiz, Raul [D-CA-36]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce; Judiciary

H.R.6286 — To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify rules relating to health savings accounts; Sponsor: Rep. Burgess, Michael C. [R-TX-26]; Committees: House - Ways and Means; Judiciary; Energy and Commerce

H.R.6288 — To amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to include a public health emergency in the definition of a major disaster, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Richmond, Cedric L. [D-LA-2]; Committees: House - Transportation and Infrastructure

S.Res.544 — A resolution supporting the designation of March 2020 as “National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month”; Sponsor: Sen. Enzi, Michael B. [R-WY]; Committees: Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

S.3505 — A bill to require private health insurance to rapidly cover preventive services and vaccines related to the coronavirus; Sponsor: Sen. Jones, Doug [D-AL]; Committees: Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

S.3507 — A bill to require the Secretary of Defense to make testing for the coronavirus disease 19 available to all members of the Armed Forces deployed to an area in which the United States Central Command has responsibility; Sponsor: Sen. Baldwin, Tammy [D-WI]; Committees: Senate - Armed Services

S.3510 — A bill to transfer all border wall funding to the Department of Health and Human Services and USAID to combat coronavirus; Sponsor: Sen. Warren, Elizabeth [D-MA]; Committees: Senate - Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

S.3511 — A bill making emergency supplemental appropriations for nutrition and supportive services for older Native Americans under the Older Americans Act of 1965; Sponsor: Sen. Smith, Tina [D-MN]; Committees: Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

S.3512 — A bill to clarify the authority for regulating laboratory-developed testing procedures; Sponsor: Sen. Paul, Rand [R-KY]; Committees: Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

S.3513 — A bill to provide Americans with paid sick time and paid leave so that they can address their own health needs and the health needs of their families; Sponsor: Sen. Murray, Patty [D-WA]; Committees: Senate – Finance

S.3514 — A bill to ensure that facilities of the Indian Health Service, facilities operated by an Indian tribe, tribal organization, or inter-tribal consortium, and facilities operated by an urban Indian organization receive items from the strategic national stockpile and qualified pandemic or epidemic products directly from the Department of Health and Human Services; Sponsor: Sen. Warren, Elizabeth [D-MA]; Committees: Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

S.3516 — A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide emergency family relief in response to the outbreak of the NCOV-19; Sponsor: Sen. Hawley, Josh [R-MO];Committees: Senate – Finance

S.3517 — A bill to increase the ability of nursing facilities to access to telehealth services and obtain technologies to allow virtual visits during the public health emergency relating to an outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and for other purposes; Sponsor: Sen. Klobuchar, Amy [D-MN]; Committees: Senate – Finance

S.3518 — A bill to provide grants to small business concerns, private nonprofit organizations, and small agricultural cooperatives affected by COVID-19, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Sen. Cardin, Benjamin L. [D-MD]; Committees: Senate - Small Business and Entrepreneurship

S.3522 — A bill to extend and expand the temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) program and related programs to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Sen. Cotton, Tom [R-AR]; Committees: Senate – Finance

S.3523 — A bill to provide for the temporary funding of the expansion of eligibility of unemployment compensation to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Sen. Cotton, Tom [R-AR]; Committees: Senate – Finance



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SERVICES




BRIEFING ARCHIVE


 -  2020


 +  2019


 +  2018