POLICY BRIEFINGS


Senators Look to Combat Veteran Vaccine Hesitancy


Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) have spearheaded a letter to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough encouraging him to use funding from the CARES Act to combat vaccine hesitancy and educate veterans about the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines. The senators cite a recent poll finding high levels of vaccine hesitancy among veterans and their families. They urge the Department to use a portion of the VA’s unspent funds from the CARES Act to counter vaccine misinformation among veterans. The letter was signed by a bipartisan group of 12 other lawmakers.


Lawmakers Request COVID-19 Vaccination Data from Nursing Homes


Abipartisan group of senators are requesting that the White House begin collecting and making public data on COVID-19 vaccination rates at the nursing home facility level. Nursing homes are currently not required to provide vaccination information to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The lawmakers urge U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra to issue an interim final rule requiring nursing homes to report COVID-19 vaccination data through the National Health Care Safety Network (NHSN) for both residents and workers, and that this information be published through the existing COVID-19 Nursing Home Dataset.


Biden Personnel Update


The Senate confirmed Vivek Murthy to serve as Surgeon General by a vote of 57-43 last week. Murthy, who previously served as Surgeon General under President Barack Obama, has said that his focus will be on COVID-19, mental health, and substance use disorders. The Senate also confirmed Rachel Levine to be the new Assistant Secretary for Health in a 52-48 vote. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) joined Democrats in support of Levine’s confirmation. Dr. Levine has said that her focus will be on opioid addiction, maternal mortality, and rural health care. Once she is sworn in, Levine will be the highest ranking openly transgender person in any administration.

Ann O’Leary has withdrawn her name from consideration for the position of Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Shalanda Young is now viewed as the most likely nominee for the post. Young, a career congressional appropriations staffer, was recently confirmed by the Senate to be deputy director of OMB by a vote of 63-37.


White House to Extend Special Open Enrollment Period


The Biden administration will extend the HealthCare.gov special enrollment period (SEP), initially scheduled to close on May 15, for an additional three months, citing increased demand for coverage during the pandemic. The extension was announced as President Joe Biden marked the 11th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) being signed into law. Congress increased available health insurance subsidies through the latest coronavirus response stimulus package. These enhanced subsidies are scheduled to become available on the federal enrollment website on April 1.


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.


Recently Introduced Health Legislation


H.R.2079 — To provide that CARES Act Provider Relief Fund payments are not includible in gross income, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Axne, Cynthia [D-IA-3]; Committees: House - Ways and Means

H.R.2080 — To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for temporary coverage of certain transportation services for certain individuals under the Medicare program, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Bishop, Sanford D., Jr. [D-GA-2]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce; Ways and Means

H.R.2082 — To make certain improvements relating to the supply chain of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Bost, Mike [R-IL-12]; Committees: House - Veterans’ Affairs; Armed Services

H.R.2094 — To provide for the publication by the Secretary of Health and Human Services of physical activity recommendations for Americans; Sponsor: Rep. Kind, Ron [D-WI-3]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.R.2111 — To amend title 38, United States Code, to establish presumptions of service connection for diseases associated with firefighting; Sponsor: Rep. Spanberger, Abigail Davis [D-VA-7]; Committees: House - Veterans’ Affairs

H.R.2114 — To amend titles XVIII and XIX of the Social Security Act to require skilled nursing facilities, nursing facilities, and intermediate care facilities for the intellectually disabled to permit certain essential caregiver visitors during a public health emergency under the Medicare and Medicaid programs; Sponsor: Rep. Tenney, Claudia [R-NY- 22]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce; Ways and Means

S.887 — A bill make certain improvements relating to the supply chain of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Sen. Moran, Jerry [R-KS]; Committees: Senate - Veterans’ Affairs

S.889 — A bill to require the use of prescription drug monitoring programs; Sponsor: Sen. Klobuchar, Amy [D-MN]; Committees: Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

S.893 — A bill to support the use of technology in maternal health care; Sponsor: Sen. Menendez, Robert [D-NJ]; Committees: Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

S.898 — A bill to require reporting regarding certain drug price increases, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Sen. Baldwin, Tammy [D-WI]; Committees: Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

S.908 — A bill to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for the negotiation of lower covered part D drug prices on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries and the establishment and application of a formulary by the Secretary of Health and Human Services under Medicare part D, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Sen. Sanders, Bernard [I-VT]; Committees: Senate – Finance

S.909 — A bill to significantly lower prescription drug prices for patients in the United States by ending government- granted monopolies for manufacturers who charge drug prices that are higher than the median prices at which the drugs are available in other countries; Sponsor: Sen. Sanders, Bernard [I-VT]; Committees: Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

S.912 — A bill to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide information regarding vaccines for seniors as part of the Medicare & You handbook and to ensure that the treatment of cost sharing for vaccines under Medicare part D is consistent with the treatment of vaccines under Medicare part B, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Sen. Hirono, Mazie K. [D-HI]; Committees: Senate – Finance

S.917 — A bill to allow for expedited approval of generic prescription drugs and temporary importation of prescription drugs in the case of marginally competitive drug markets and drug shortages; Sponsor: Sen. Klobuchar, Amy [D-MN]; Committees: Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

S.918 — A bill to offer financial support to health care providers, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Sen. Barrasso, John [R-WY]; Committees: Senate – Finance

S.920 — A bill to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to allow for the importation of affordable and safe drugs by wholesale distributors, pharmacies, and individuals; Sponsor: Sen. Sanders, Bernard [I-VT]; Committees: Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

S.924 — A bill to establish a demonstration program to provide payments on eligible loans for individuals who are eligible for the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program; Sponsor: Sen. Blackburn, Marsha [R-TN]; Committees: Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

S.926 — A bill to plan, develop, and make recommendations to increase access to sexual assault examinations for survivors by holding hospitals accountable and supporting the providers that serve them; Sponsor: Sen. Murray, Patty [D-WA]; Committees: Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

S.927 — A bill to improve the provision of health care and other benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs for veterans who were exposed to toxic substances, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Sen. Tillis, Thom [R-NC]; Committees: Senate - Veterans’ Affairs

S.934 — A bill to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to improve rural health clinic payments; Sponsor: Sen. Warner, Mark R. [D-VA]; Committees: Senate – Finance

S.935 — A bill to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to make technical corrections to rural health clinic payments; Sponsor: Sen. Grassley, Chuck [R-IA]; Committees: Senate – Finance

H.Res.266 — Expressing appreciation and recognition for President Trump and the Trump administration for the creation of Operation Warp Speed and the historic development of a COVID-19 vaccine; Sponsor: Rep. Babin, Brian [R- TX-36]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.R.2118 — To authorize United States participation in the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Bera, Ami [D-CA-7]; Committees: House - Foreign Affairs

H.R.2125 — To amend title XIX and XXI of the Social Security Act to provide coverage of comprehensive tobacco cessation services under such titles, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Blunt Rochester, Lisa [D-DE-At Large]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.R.2127 — To improve the provision of health care and other benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs for veterans who were exposed to toxic substances, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Bost, Mike [R-IL-12]; Committees: House - Veterans’ Affairs

H.R.2130 — To establish a demonstration program to provide payments on eligible loans for individuals who are eligible for the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program; Sponsor: Rep. Bustos, Cheri [D-IL-17]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce



March 29, 2021: | Page 1 Page 2 Page 3

SERVICES




BRIEFING ARCHIVE


 -  2021


 +  2020


 +  2019


 +  2018