POLICY BRIEFINGS


Slavitt to Leave WH Post in May


Senior adviser to President Joe Biden’s Covid response team Andy Slavitt has confirmed that he is planning to leave his position at the White House at the end of May. Slavitt joined the administration in mid-January as a special government employee to support efforts around vaccine messaging. In this capacity, he is only permitted to serve for a limited period of time, which is set to expire in June.


Biden Personnel Update


President Joe Biden has nominated Melanie Egorin to serve as Assistant Secretary for Legislation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Egorin was the Democratic Deputy Staff Director for the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health. She was the lead staff person for Affordable Care Act (ACA) policy, Medicare Advantage, dual-eligible beneficiaries, end-stage renal disease (ESRD), women’s health, and health tax issues. Prior to joining Ways and Means, she worked for the Government Accountability Office (GAO).


Extended Use of Proxy Voting Under Consideration


House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) indicated last week that House leadership is discussing whether to extend the use of proxy voting following the conclusion of the current public health emergency (PHE). He suggested that it may be a useful tool for members who are sick, on maternity leave, or unable to be present due to the death of a relative. The proxy voting system used in the House of Representatives is currently in effect through the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Democrats began implementing the practice in May 2020, and it was renewed again in January of this year.


CDC Releases Guidance for Vaccinated Individuals


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released its long-awaited guidance on how fully vaccinated individuals can safely behave. The Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People states that those who are fully vaccinated can visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing, visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing, and refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if they are asymptomatic. This population should continue to take precautions like wearing a mask and physical distancing when in public or when visiting with unvaccinated people who are at an increased risk for severe COVID-19, and should continue to avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings.


Sunset Rule Faces Legal Challenge in CA


The Trump-era Sunset Rule is facing a legal challenge in California’s Northern District. The rule would cause existing health regulations to expire if they are not reviewed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) every 10 years. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which include the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the American Lung Association, argue that the rule could result in the termination of more than 17,000 health regulations by 2026 and would create “incalculable costs and chaos.” The case is County of Santa Clara et al v. HHS, N.D. Cal., No. 5:21-cv-01655.


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 Committee Activity


Senate Finance Committee hearing “Made in America: Effect of the U.S. Tax Code on Domestic Manufacturing;” 10:00 a.m.; March 16

House Rules Committee meeting to consider H.R. 1868—To prevent across-the-board direct spending cuts, H.R. 1620— Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021, and other measures; 11:00 a.m.; March 16

Senate HELP Committee executive session to consider the nominations of Vivek Hallegere Murthy to serve as Medical Director in the Regular Corps of the Public Health Service and Surgeon General of the Public Health Service and Rachel Levine to serve as Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services; 9:30 a.m.; March 17

House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing “Leading the Way Forward: Biden Administration Actions to Increase COVID-19 Vaccinations;” 10:00 a.m.; March 17

Senate Finance Committee hearing “A National Tragedy: COVID-19 in the Nation’s Nursing Homes;” 10:00 a.m.; March 17

Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing “Advancing Effective U.S. Policy for Strategic Competition with China in the Twenty-First Century;” 10:00 a.m.; March 17

House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing “Averting a Crisis: Protecting Access to Health Care in the U.S. Territories;” 1:00 p.m.; March 17

Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee hearing “The Paycheck Protection Program: Performance, Impact, and Next Steps;” 2:30 p.m.; March 17

Senate Aging Committee hearing “COVID-19 One Year Later: Addressing Health Care Needs for At-Risk Americans;” 9:30 a.m.; March 18

Senate HELP Committee hearing “Examining Our COVID-19 Response: An Update from Federal Officials;” 10:00 a.m., 216 Hart Bldg.; March 18

Senate Finance Committee hearing “Fighting Forced Labor: Closing Loopholes and Improving Customs Enforcement to Mandate Clean Supply Chains and Protect Workers;” 10:00 a.m.; March 18

House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing “A Year Out: Addressing International Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic;” 1:00 p.m.; March 18

House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health hearing “Beyond Deborah Sampson: Improving Healthcare for America’s Women Veterans in the 117th Congress;” 2:30 p.m.; March 18

House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing “The Pandemic and VA’s Medical Supply Chain: Evaluating the Year-Long Response and Modernization;” 2:00 p.m.; March 24


Recently Introduced Health Legislation


S.612 — A bill to require the Under Secretary for Health of the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide certain information to medical center staff and homelessness service providers of the Department regarding the coordinated entry processes for housing and services operated under the Continuum of Care Program of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Sen. Portman, Rob [R-OH]; Committees: Senate - Veterans’ Affairs

S.613 — A bill to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a pilot program on dog training therapy and to amend title 38, United States Code, to authorize the Secretary to provide service dogs to veterans with mental illnesses who do not have mobility impairments; Sponsor: Sen. Tillis, Thom [R-NC]; Committees: Senate - Veterans’ Affairs

H.Res.197 — Expressing the sense of the Congress with respect to the export of COVID-19 vaccines to foreign countries; Sponsor: Rep. Van Drew, Jefferson [R-NJ-2]; Committees: House - Foreign Affairs

H.R.1609 — To amend title XI of the Social Security Act to provide Secretarial authority to temporarily waive or modify application of certain Medicare requirements with respect to ambulance services furnished during certain emergency periods; Sponsor: Rep. Axne, Cynthia [D-IA-3]; Committees: House - Ways and Means; Energy and Commerce

H.R.1611 — To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to add physical therapists to the list of providers allowed to utilize locum tenens arrangements under Medicare; Sponsor: Rep. Bilirakis, Gus M. [R-FL-12]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce; Ways and Means

H.R.1629 — To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to limitations on exclusive approval or licensure of orphan drugs, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Dean, Madeleine [D-PA-4]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce; Budget

H.R.1639 — To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to restore State authority to waive for certain facilities the 35-mile rule for designating critical access hospitals under the Medicare program, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Kinzinger, Adam [R-IL-16]; Committees: House - Ways and Means; Energy and Commerce

H.R.1647 — To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to increase the use of telehealth for substance use disorder treatment and mental health services, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. McKinley, David B. [R-WV-1]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce; Ways and Means; Judiciary

H.R.1649 — To make a technical correction to the ALS Disability Insurance Access Act of 2019; Sponsor: Rep. Moulton, Seth [D-MA-6]; Committees: House - Ways and Means

H.R.1653 — To amend the America COMPETES Act to strengthen reporting requirements relating to deficiencies in Federal research infrastructure, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Neguse, Joe [D-CO-2]; Committees: House - Science, Space, and Technology

H.R.1655 — To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide coverage under the Medicare program for FDA- approved qualifying colorectal cancer screening blood-based tests, to increase participation in colorectal cancer screening in under-screened communities of color, to offset the COVID-19 pandemic driven declines in colorectal cancer screening and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Payne, Donald M., Jr. [D-NJ-10]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce; Ways and Means

H.R.1667 — To address behavioral health and well-being among health care professionals; Sponsor: Rep. Wild, Susan [D-PA-7]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.Res.203 — Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the President of the United States should take Executive action to declare National COVID-19 Vaccination Awareness Day as a one-time Federal holiday to act as a galvanizing moment to promote the more rapid distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to all areas of the country, show appreciation for the heroic partnership between government and health care stakeholders to develop effective and safe vaccines in record time, and increase public awareness of the important role vaccination can play for a return to normalcy as soon as possible; Sponsor: Rep. Katko, John [R-NY-24]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.Res.209 — Supporting the designation of March 2021 as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month; Sponsor: Rep. Payne, Donald M., Jr. [D-NJ-10]; Committees: House - Oversight and Reform

H.R.1670 — To amend the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to authorize the use of funds for comprehensive reproductive health care services, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Schakowsky, Janice D. [D-IL-9]; Committees: House - Foreign Affairs

H.R.1676 — To amend title XVIII to provide for certain Medigap coverage for Medicare beneficiaries with end-stage renal disease, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Axne, Cynthia [D-IA-3]; Committees: House - Ways and Means; Energy and Commerce

H.R.1677 — To direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, and the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission to conduct studies and report to Congress on actions taken to expand access to telehealth services under the Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance programs during the COVID-19 emergency; Sponsor: Rep. Balderson, Troy [R-OH-12]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce; Ways and Means

H.R.1685 — To authorize the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, acting through the Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, to award grants to States to expand access to clinically appropriate services for opioid abuse, dependence, or addiction; Sponsor: Rep. Foster, Bill [D-IL-11]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.R.1686 — To direct the Comptroller General of the United States to evaluate and report on the inpatient and outpatient treatment capacity, availability, and needs of the United States; Sponsor: Rep. Foster, Bill [D-IL-11]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce; Natural Resources

H.R.1716 — To direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, to conduct or support research on the mental health consequences of SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Tonko, Paul [D-NY-20]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.R.1717 — To amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to make permanent the protections under Medicaid for recipients of home and community-based services against spousal impoverishment; Sponsor: Rep. Upton, Fred [R-MI-6]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.R.1720 — To provide additional funding under the Defense Production Act of 1950 related to medical supplies and equipment directly related to combating the COVID-19 pandemic, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Vargas, Juan [D-CA-51]; Committees: House - Financial Services

H.R.1722 — To amend titles XI and XIX of the Social Security Act to stabilize the Medicaid program in Puerto Rico; Sponsor: Rep. Velazquez, Nydia M. [D-NY-7]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce



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SERVICES




BRIEFING ARCHIVE


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 +  2020


 +  2019


 +  2018