Cortez Masto, Young Introduced Bipartisan Telehealth Legislation

Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) have introduced legislation that would temporarily extend waivers permitting additional flexibility in the provision of telehealth that were first instituted in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The Telehealth Extension and Evaluation Act (S. 3593) would extend Medicare payment flexibilities for two years beyond the conclusion of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). Flexibilities for rural health centers and federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) would also be extended. The bill would require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to study how the expanded use of telehealth impacts utilization, fraud, and access to care for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries and deliver a final report 18 months following the end of the PHE. The legislation also includes provisions aimed at reducing fraud and abuse, such as requiring in-person visits within a year for patients prescribed certain durable medical equipment (DME) or lab tests.

OSTP Head Lander Resigns

Eric Lander, President Joe Biden’s top science advisor, resigned on Monday night following an internal review that found he mistreated and demeaned subordinates. Lander had served as Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) since January 2021, a post President Biden elevated to a cabinet-level position. His resignation will be effective no later than February 18. Lander acknowledged and apologized for his conduct, and the White House accepted Lander’s resignation while recognizing his work at OSTP on the pandemic, Cancer Moonshot, and climate change. Lander had been overseeing the proposed creation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H). He had been scheduled to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health’s Tuesday hearing on ARPA-H, but his appearance was canceled.

MO Rep. Smith to Seek W&M Leadership Post

Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.) has announced that he will run for reelection to the House of Representatives, foregoing on the chance to run for the Senate seat held by retiring Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Smith will seek the position of top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee. The panel’s current ranking member, Kevin Brady (R-Texas) is retiring at the end of his term. Reps. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) and Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) are also seeking the open GOP leadership post on Ways and Means.

Senate Democrats Push for Expansion of Paid Leave

Agroup of Senate Democrats led by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) is asking congressional leadership to reinstate and expand emergency paid sick and family caregiving leave in the final fiscal year (FY) 2022 appropriations measure or in future pandemic response packages. “Guaranteed emergency leave would...ensure workers have the ability to quarantine if needed” or “care for a child who cannot attend in-person school or childcare,” the lawmakers state. The letter was signed by 14 other Democratic senators.

Schumer to Prioritize Marijuana Legalization Proposal

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that he will unveil legislation in April to legalize marijuana and set tax and banking rules to regulate the industry. Schumer stated that he will prioritize the measure for consideration before the November midterm elections. The legalization proposal is not expected to gain the 60 votes necessary for passage in the Senate, with many Republicans and some Democrats opposed to making marijuana more accessible.

Commission Releases Report on Illegal Opioids

The Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking, led by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Rep. David Trone (D-Md.), has released its final report describing the illegal manufacture and trafficking of synthetic opioids. The commission, established under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, was charged with developing a consensus on a strategic approach to combating the illegal flow of synthetic opioids into the United States. The final report argues that the nation’s drug czar should be elevated to a cabinet-level position.

Capito Tests Positive for COVID-19

Sen. Shelly Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) has tested positive for COVID-19 in another breakthrough case of the virus on Capitol Hill. She is asymptomatic and said that she will quarantine for five days in keeping with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.

FDA Postpones Vaccine Advisory Committee Meeting

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has postponed its advisory committee meeting on the consideration of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children six months through four years of age. Pfizer has said that new data has emerged impacting its latest emergency use authorization (EUA) request. The delay will give the agency time to consider the additional data. The meeting was originally scheduled to occur on February 15.

Upcoming Congressional Hearings and Markups

Senate Finance Committee hearing “Protecting Youth Mental Health: Part II – Identifying and Addressing Barriers to Care;” 10:00 a.m.; February 15

House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship hearing “Is There a Doctor in the House? The Role of Immigrant Physicians in the U.S. Healthcare System;” 2:00 p.m.; February 15

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing “Addressing the Gaps in America’s Biosecurity Preparedness;” 10:15 a.m.; February 17

House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing “Americans in Need: Responding to the National Mental Health Crisis;” 11:30 a.m.; February 17

Recently Introduced Health Legislation

H.R.6612 — To amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to provide a higher Federal matching rate for increased expenditures under Medicaid for maternal health care services; Sponsor: Rep. Manning, Kathy E. [D-NC-6]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.Con.Res.68 — Expressing the sense of the Congress that assisted suicide (sometimes referred to using other terms) puts everyone, including those most vulnerable, at risk of deadly harm; Sponsor: Rep. Correa, J. Luis [D-CA-46]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.Res.911 — Supporting the goals and ideals of “National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day”; Sponsor: Rep. Lee, Barbara [D-CA-13]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.Res.910 — Expressing support for the designation of February 4, 2022, as “National Cancer Prevention Day”; Sponsor: Rep. Dingell, Debbie [D-MI-12]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.Res.909 — Expressing support for health care personnel and condemning assaults on health care personnel as the U.S. health care system faces unprecedented staffing shortages and increased workplace related stressors; Sponsor: Rep. Carter, Troy [D-LA-2]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce; Judiciary; Education and Labor

S.3587 — A bill to modify conditions of funding for the distance learning, telemedicine, and broadband program of the Rural Utilities Service, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Sen. Thune, John [R-SD]; Committees: Senate - Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

S.3588 — A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to improve domestic manufacturing surge capacity and capabilities for biodefense and pandemic preparedness; Sponsor: Sen. Romney, Mitt [R-UT]; Committees: Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

H.Res.913 — Expressing support for the designation of February 6 to 12, 2022, as “National Burn Awareness Week”; Sponsor: Rep. Thompson, Mike [D-CA-5]; Committees: House - Oversight and Reform

H.R.6622 — To amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to provide clarification with respect to the liability of third party payers for medical assistance paid under the Medicaid program, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Burgess, Michael C. [R-TX-26]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.R.6625 — To prohibit the Secretary of Health and Human Services from issuing guidance intended to restrict access to COVID-19 monoclonal antibody therapies and other treatments; Sponsor: Rep. Davis, Rodney [R-IL-13]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.R.6634 — To amend title XXVIII of the Public Health Service Act to eliminate the sunset of authority to make certain appointments for National Disaster Medical System, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Schrier, Kim [D-WA-8]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

S.3593 — To amend titles XI and XVIII of the Social Security Act to extend certain telehealth services covered by Medicare and to evaluate the impact of telehealth services on Medicare beneficiaries, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Sen. Cortez Masto, Catherine [D-NV]; Committees: Senate – Finance

S.3596 — A bill to amend title XXI of the Social Security Act to disregard State expenditures on health services initiatives to increase access to behavioral health services for children in schools for purposes of the reimbursement limitation on expenditures under the Children’s Health Insurance Program that are not related to Medicaid or health insurance assistance; Sponsor: Sen. Thune, John [R-SD]; Committees: Senate – Finance

S.3601 — A bill to require the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to include breast pumps and other lactation supplies and equipment in disaster relief and emergency response; Sponsor: Sen. Duckworth, Tammy [D- IL]; Committees: Senate - Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

S.3603 — A bill to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a pilot program to improve the ability of veterans to access medical care in medical facilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs and in the community by providing veterans the ability to choose health care providers; Sponsor: Sen. Blackburn, Marsha [R-TN]; Committees: Senate - Veterans’ Affairs

H.Con.Res.71 — Expressing the sense of Congress that Congress should issue a subpoena to Dr. Anthony Fauci and reduce the salary of the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Chief Medical Advisor to the President; Sponsor: Rep. Gosar, Paul A. [R-AZ-4]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce; Rules

H.R.6641 — To direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to provide for certain adjustments to Medicare payment for items of durable medical equipment that were formerly included in round 2021 of the DMEPOS competitive bidding program; Sponsor: Rep. Mullin, Markwayne [R-OK-2]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce; Ways and Means

H.R.6647 — To amend title 38, United States Code, to make certain improvements relating to the eligibility of veterans to receive reimbursement for emergency treatment furnished through the Veterans Community Care program, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. McMorris Rodgers, Cathy [R-WA-5]; Committees: House - Veterans’ Affairs

S.3611 — A bill to provide for improvements in the reimbursement of eligible health care providers through the Provider Relief Fund, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Sen. Shaheen, Jeanne [D-NH]; Committees: Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

February 14, 2022: | Page 1 Page 2 Page 3



 -  2023

 +  2022

 +  2021

 +  2020

 +  2019

 +  2018