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.


UFA Reauthorization to be Attached to Stopgap Spending Bill

Congressional health committee leadership have reached a tentative agreement to reauthorize medical product user fees at the Food and Drug Administration for another five years. The reauthorization will be attached to a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the federal government beyond the end of the fiscal year on September 30. While Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-N.C.) has characterized the deal as “practically clean,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (RKy.) is reportedly seeking to block any policy riders from the bill. Specific reauthorization language has yet to be released. Measures to overhaul the regulation of diagnostics, dietary supplements, and cosmetics will likely be pushed for consideration in an end-of-the-year omnibus appropriations package.

GOP Unveils “Commitment to America” Agenda

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) unveiled the Republican Party agenda – dubbed “Commitment to America” – during an event in suburban Pittsburgh last week. Should the GOP regain the majority in Congress this November, McCarthy stated that their focus would be on the economy, crime and safety, and individual and religious freedom. Republicans pledge to provide transparency, choice, and competition in health care. Their health platform includes making health savings accounts easier to use, allowing the creation of association health plans, and promoting domestic manufacturing of medicines. House Democratic leadership criticized the agenda for lacking details.

Cures 2.0 Pulled from E&C Markup Consideration

A House committee was scheduled to markup the biomedical innovation bill known as the Cures 2.0 Act (H.R. 6000), but the legislation was pulled from consideration after Republicans indicated that they intended to attach poison pill riders to it, according to Democratic sponsor Diana DeGette (D-Colo.). DeGette stated that she was informed that Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans planned to attach amendments to the bill that would have changed the Democrats’ landmark Inflation Reduction Act. Cures 2.0 – the follow-up legislation to the 21st Century Cures Act passed in 2016 – aims to speed the availability of new treatments and technologies and increase access to telehealth services. Cures 2.0 currently has 100 cosponsors, including 13 Republicans. Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) has said that he will continue to push for a full House vote on the bill either this or next Congressional session.

E&C, W&M Mark Up Health Legislation

The House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced five healthcare-related bills last week, including:

  • H.R. 3655, the Vaccine Injury Compensation Modernization Act of 2021;
  • H.R. 5141, the Maximizing Outcomes through Better Investments in Lifesaving Equipment for (MOBILE) Health Care Act;
  • H.R. 8163, the Improving Trauma Systems and Emergency Care Act;
  • H.R. 6737, the Flint Registry Reauthorization Act; and
  • H.R. 5441, the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act of 2021.
During the markup, the committee also considered 19 resolutions of inquiry from panel Republicans seeking information from the Biden administration.

The House Ways and Means Committee also held a markup to consider home visiting and mental health legislation. The legislative proposals considered by the committee would strengthen coverage of Medicare outpatient mental health services, allow coverage of marriage and family therapist services and mental health counselor services under Medicare, and provide outreach and reporting on certain behavioral health integration services and opioid use disorder treatment services offered through Medicare. The following bills were passed out of the committee:
  • H.R. 8876, The Jackie Walorski Maternal and Child Home Visiting Reauthorization Act of 2022;
  • Committee Print 117-1. Improvements to Medicare Inpatient and Outpatient Mental Health Services;
  • Committee Print 117-2. Improvements to the Medicare Program Related to Physician Services and Education;
  • Committee Print 117-3. Requiring Coverage of Forensic Medical Exams with No Cost Sharing
  • Committee Print 117-4. Improved Information in Provider Directories, Plan Definitions, and Crisis Services for Private Insurance Plans; and
  • Committee Print 117-5. Improved Information for Network Coverage and Plan Documents in Private Insurance Plans.

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