Fetterman Seeks Treatment for Depression

Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.), 53, announced last week that he has checked himself into inpatient treatment at Walter Reed Medical Center and is seeking treatment for clinical depression on the recommendation of Congress’ attending physician. Fetterman is also in recovery from a stroke suffered on the campaign trail last year. According to the American Stroke Association, depression is common among stroke survivors. Fetterman’s aides have stated that he will likely return to the Senate from inpatient care in a few weeks.

Casey Undergoes Surgery for Prostate Cancer

Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) underwent a scheduled surgery for prostate cancer last week and plans to return to the Senate “after a period of rest and recovery.” Doctors do not expect him to require further treatment, according to a tweet from the Senator’s office. While the chamber is not scheduled to reconvene until February 27, an extended absence from Casey, along with the absence of Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.), could have an impact on Senate business given Democrat’s slim 51-49 majority.

CBO Describes Scoring Methodology Behind Reconciliation Billís Drug Pricing Measures

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released a presentation describing how the agency estimated the budgetary impact of the major prescription drug pricing provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act, passed last year via the budget reconciliation process. The law requires the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate the prices of certain Medicare Part B and Part D drugs, requires pharmaceutical manufacturers of brand products to pay rebates if their prices exceed an inflation-adjusted benchmark, and provides for redesigns of the Part D benefit. In total, CBO estimated that these measures will reduce the federal deficit by $129 billion from 2022 through 2031.

Upcoming Congressional Hearings and Markups

Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing “Taxpayers Paid Billions For It: So Why Would Moderna Consider Quadrupling the Price of the COVID Vaccine?” 10:00 a.m.; March 22

House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies public witness hearing; March 23

Recently Introduced Health Legislation

H.R.982 — To address the health needs of incarcerated women related to pregnancy and childbirth, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Kamlager-Dove, Sydney [Rep.-D-CA-37]; Committees: House - Judiciary; Budget

H.R.977 — To repeal changes made by health care reform laws to the Medicare exception to the prohibition on certain physician referrals for hospitals. Sponsor: Burgess, Michael C. [Rep.-R-TX-26]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce; Ways and Means

H.R.974 — To remove obstacles to the ability of law enforcement officers to enforce gun safety laws, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Beyer, Donald S., Jr. [Rep.-D-VA-8]; Committees: House – Judiciary

H.Res.122 — Expressing support for States to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act to close the Medicaid coverage gap. Sponsor: Davis, Donald G. [Rep.-D-NC-1]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

S. 397 – A bill to provide for the publication by the Secretary of Health and Human Services of physical activity recommendations for Americans; Sponsor: Brown, Sherrod [D-OH]; Committees: Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

S.403 — A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to authorize a public education campaign across all relevant programs of the Health Resources and Services Administration to increase oral health literacy and awareness; Sponsor: Lujan, Ben Ray [Sen.-D-NM]; Committees: Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

S.406 — A bill to establish the Public Health Information and Communications Advisory Committee for purposes of providing recommendations and reports, and to support educational initiatives on communication and dissemination of information during public health emergencies; Sponsor: Murphy, Christopher [Sen.-D-CT]; Committees: Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

S.407 — A bill to amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to establish a methodology for determining State allotments for Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments that is based on State poverty levels, to require States to prioritize disproportionate share hospital payments on the basis of Medicaid inpatient utilization and low-income utilization rates, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rubio, Marco [Sen.-R-FL]; Committees: Senate – Finance

S.420 — A bill to prohibit Federal funds from being made available to facilities that refuse to provide treatment based on COVID-19 vaccination status; Sponsor: Paul, Rand [Sen.-R-KY]; Committees: Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

S.421 — A bill to prohibit Federal funding to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and to require a GAO study regarding Federal funds previously provided to such institute or to entities affiliated with the Chinese Government; Sponsor: Ernst, Joni [Sen.-R-IA]; Committees: Senate - Foreign Relations

S.423 — A bill to streamline enrollment in health insurance affordability programs and minimum essential coverage, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Van Hollen, Chris [Sen.-D-MD]; Committees: Senate – Finance

S.424 — A bill to protect the seniors of the United States, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Scott, Rick [Sen.-R-FL]; Latest Action: Introduced in the Senate. Read the first time. Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under Read the First Time.

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