CDC Updates List of Populations At Risk of COVID-19 Severe Illness

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released an updated and expanded list of the populations at increased risk for getting severely ill from COVID-19. The list still includes older adults and people with underlying medical conditions, but has furthered defined age- and condition-related risks to include chronic kidney disease, COPD, obesity, immunocompromised state from solid organ transplant, serious heart conditions, sickle cell disease, and Type 2 diabetes. The list of other conditions that might increase a person’s risk of severe illness includes additions such as asthma, high blood pressure, neurologic conditions, cerebrovascular disease, and pregnancy. CDC also clarifies that among adults, risk increases steadily with age – it is not just individuals over the age of 65 who are at increased risk.

CMS Releases Data on COVID-Related SEP Coverage

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released a trends report providing data on the number of individuals who have signed up for coverage through HealthCare.gov during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The number of consumers gaining coverage through a loss of minimum essential coverage special enrollment period (MEC SEP) is higher for the 2020 coverage year than for any of the prior coverage years, with approximately 487,000 consumers gaining coverage through the loss of MEC, an increase of 46 percent from the same time period last year. Millions of individuals have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic, and current regulations allow anyone who loses job-based MEC to qualify for a SEP. Consumers typically have up to 60 days following the loss of job-based coverage to enroll in a plan.

CMMI Director Considered for Domestic Policy Council Position

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) official Brad Smith is expected to be appointed for a position on the Domestic Policy Council (DPC) to advise the president on health care issues. Smith joined the Trump administration in January. He currently serves as an adviser to Secretary Alex Azar on payment reform and leads the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). If the decision is finalized, Smith would replace Maria Bonner, who is returning to work in the private sector after over a year with the administration. He is expected to remain in his roles at HHS while at the DPC.

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

Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing “COVID-19: Update on Progress Toward Safely Getting Back to Work and Back to School;” 10:00 a.m., G50 Dirksen Bldg.; June 30

Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing to examine COVID-19 and United States international pandemic preparedness, prevention, and response, focusing on additional perspectives; 10:00 a.m., virtual; June 30

House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing “High Anxiety and Stress: Legislation to Improve Mental Health During Crisis;” 11:00 a.m., virtual; June 30

House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health hearing “Veterans’ Access to Reproductive Healthcare;” 10:00 a.m., virtual; July 1

Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing “Recruitment, Retention, and Building a Resilient Veterans’ Health Care Workforce;” 3:00 p.m., 106 Dirksen Bldg.; July 1

House Oversight and Reform Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing “The Administration’s Efforts to Procure, Stockpile, and Distribute Critical Supplies;” 9:00 a.m., virtual; July 2

Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies hearing to review Operation Warp Speed: the researching, manufacturing, and distributing of a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine; 10:00 a.m., 106 Dirksen Bldg.; July 2

House Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access hearing “Supply Chain Resiliency;” 10:00 a.m., virtual; July 2

Recently Introduced Health Legislation

S.Res.633 — A resolution supporting the goals of International Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Day; Sponsor: Sen. Markey, Edward J. [D-MA]; Committees: Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

H.R.7286 — 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.7287 — To clarify the licensure requirements for contractor medical professionals to perform medical disability examinations for the Department of Veterans Affairs; Sponsor: Rep. Bost, Mike [R-IL-12]; Committees: House - Veterans’ Affairs

H.R.7288 — To direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services and other Federal officials to compile into a searchable database information relating to Federal support for biomedical research and development related to COVID-19, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Doggett, Lloyd [D-TX-35]; Committees: House - Ways and Means; Veterans’ Affairs; Science, Space, and Technology; Judiciary; Energy and Commerce; Armed Services

H.R.7292 — To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for forgiveness of certain accelerated and advance payments under parts A and B of the Medicare program; Sponsor: Rep. Kaptur, Marcy [D-OH-9]; Committees: House - Ways and Means; Energy and Commerce

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