Hart Health Strategies provides a comprehensive policy briefing on a weekly basis. This in-depth health policy briefing is sent out at the beginning of each week. The health policy briefing recaps the previous week and previews the week ahead. It alerts clients to upcoming congressional hearings, newly introduced bills, regulatory announcements, and implementation activity related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and other health laws.


Health on the Hill in 2020

Impeachment proceedings are expected to dominate the U.S. Senate the first weeks of this new year, which already faces a compressed legislative calendar due to the November 2020 presidential elections. While lawmakers left for holiday recess without a deal on the parameters for impeachment, senators have said that they expect the trial will begin this month. Once the impeachment proceedings begin, all other legislative business will be put on hold until the trial is completed. The trial proceedings are expected to be held six days a week. Senate Majority Leader McConnell has said he expects the trial to last approximately two to three weeks

Nevertheless, lawmakers have several health care priorities on their agendas for 2020. House Democrats plan to renew efforts to pass legislation to lower drug prices. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) stated in a Dear Colleague letter last week that she will push for the Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3) to be included in a reauthorization package of health care programs set to expire May 22. The drug pricing bill passed the House in December, but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said that he will not take it up for a vote in the Senate.

There is also bipartisan interest in pursuing a solution to end the practice of surprise medical billing. The fiscal year (FY) 2020 funding package included a short-term extension of several federal health programs through May 22. This reauthorization deadline was intended to force an agreement on the issues of surprise billing, drug pricing, and lowering health care costs more broadly.

The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to meet in Executive Session to consider the U.S.-Mexico-Canada-Agreement (USMCA) on Tuesday. The trade deal, which only requires a simple majority to pass, is ultimately expected to be advanced by the Senate early this year. The deal removes a provision that would have guaranteed 10 years of data protection for biologic drugs.

The second session of the 116th Congress begins at noon today. The Senate will convene today while the House of Representatives is scheduled to reconvene on Tuesday.

Sasse, Loffler to Fill Senate Vacancies

Given Sen. Johnny Iskason’s (R-Ga.) retirement at the end of 2019, it was announced that the resulting vacancies on the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) will be filled by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) and Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), respectively. Loeffler was appointed by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) to Iskason’s seat through 2020 and is expected to run in a November special election for the remainder of his term – through 2022. Ms. Loeffler will be sworn in by Vice President Pence later today.

January 6, 2020: | Page 1 Page 2



 -  2023

 +  2022

 +  2021

 +  2020

 +  2019

 +  2018