POLICY BRIEFINGS


E&C Releases Oversight Agenda


House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Oversight Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) have released their COVID-19 oversight plan. The lawmakers also outline the actions taken by the panel thus far related to the federal government’s coronavirus response efforts. The subcommittee will continue its COVID-19 oversight in the following areas: testing and contact tracing, supply chains for personal protective equipment (PPE), vaccines and vaccine candidates, food safety and supply, and commitment to science and public health. The panel plans to hold its first oversight hearing on COVID-19 testing in the coming weeks, now that the House of Representatives has changed its rules to allow for remote hearings.


Lawmakers Seek National Vaccine Blueprint


A bipartisan group of lawmakers on the House Energy and Commerce Committee have written to White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx urging the administration to create national strategy for developing, manufacturing, and distributing eventual coronavirus vaccines and to publicize the plan to the greatest extent possible. The committee leaders warned that a national vaccination campaign will require significant preparation and coordination. The lawmakers also asked that the administration consider the decisions that will be necessary related to the allocation of vaccines. In addition, they requested a briefing on Operation Warp Speed and a response from the administration by June 4. The letter was signed by committee Chair Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-Ore.), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and Ranking Member Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.).


Democrats Seek More Data on COVID Health Disparities


Several Democratic leaders have expressed concerns about a Trump administration report on COVID-19 disparities, which they believe fails to provide sufficient data on testing and demographics. The report was required under the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) stated that they will continue to push for sufficient information on the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on communities of color. They argue that the administration’s report relies on previously available data sets and fails to meet the basic requirements of the law.


Wyden, Murray Push for COVID-19 Coverage Expansion


A group of Senate Democrats have released a plan to expand health care coverage and affordability during the COVID-19 pandemic. The white paper from Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) outlines legislative priorities to improve health coverage in response to the coronavirus crisis. Policies outlined in the paper would cover all costs for COVID-19 treatment, deliver subsidies for the cost of COBRA premiums for the newly unemployed, expand and increase access to premium tax credits to help families afford monthly premiums, incentivize Medicaid expansion, establish a federal special enrollment period, ban the sale of short-term limited duration plans, and restore funding for marketplace outreach and enrollment support. The proposal is supported by 33 other Senate Democrats.


New Data Released on Nursing Home Infection Controls


The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a new report detailing insufficient infection control practices in nursing homes. According to the government watchdog, the vast majority of the nation’s nursing homes were cited for infection prevention and control problems in recent years, with 82 percent failing to meet federal standards at least once between 2013 and 2017. Half of nursing homes experienced persistent problems cited over multiple years. The GAO states that many practices, such as proper handwashing and isolating sick residents, are critical to preventing the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19.


Azar Urged to Support Student Health Coverage


House Education and Labor Committee Chair Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) are asking the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help displaced college students maintain health insurance coverage amidst the coronavirus pandemic. In a letter to Secretary Alex Azar, the lawmakers point out that many students rely on insurance plans sponsored by universities. These individuals may face a gap in coverage as schools remain closed due to COVID-19.


Hart Health Strategies COVID-19 Resources


Hart Health Strategies Inc. continues to update the following resources related to the coronavirus pandemic. Please remember to clear your cache to ensure you download the most recent documents.


Upcoming Congressional Hearings and Markups


House Committee on Ways and Means field hearing “The Disproportionate Impact of COVID-19 on Communities of Color;” 12:00 p.m., Cisco Webex Virtual Platform; May 27

House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies hearing “Department of Veterans Affairs – Response to COVID-19;” 10:00 a.m., 1324 Longworth Bldg.; May 28

House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Workforce Protections hearing “Examining the Federal Government’s Actions to Protect Workers from COVID-19;” 10:15 a.m., 2175 Rayburn Bldg.; May 28



May 26, 2020: | Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4

SERVICES




BRIEFING ARCHIVE


 -  2020


 +  2019


 +  2018