The comprehensive spending package for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 includes the following health policy and program reauthorizations.
- Reauthorization of the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) for 10 years.
- A nationwide increase in the age for the sale of tobacco products to 21 years
- Increases generic drug competition to lower the price of drugs
- Repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Medical Device Tax, Health Insurance Tax, and Cadillac Tax
February 7, 2020
- During the State of the Union Address on February 6th, President Trump remarked that his major priorities include; lowering the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs, and protecting patients with preexisting conditions. Find President Trump's entire remarks here.
- On January 30, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance allowing states to apply for capped block grants through Medicaid demonstration waivers, particularly in order to cover services for the Medicaid expansion population (i.e., adults under the age of 65). The guidance also allows states that receive such block grants to make other changes to their programs (e.g., formularies for prescription drugs). H. Res. 8266 was created, expressing the opinion that the House of Representatives feels CMS should withdraw this guidance.
- On February 6th the House passed this resolution, disapproving of the guidance permitting block grants under Medicaid demonstration waivers, H. Res. 833. The Senate is not expected to act on a similar resolution.
January 24, 2020
- The Supreme Court declined a motion to fast-track a challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This is in response to a lower court ruling declaring the individual mandate of the ACA unconstitutional. Further action by the lower court or the Supreme Court is not likely in the near future. Read the Docket information here.
January 17, 2020
- Legislation addressing drug pricing and surprise medical billing appears to be stalled at this time. The ongoing tension between the House Energy & Commerce Committee and the House Ways & Means Committee has stifled progress on surprise medical billing. The House-passed drug pricing legislation, H.R. 3, is pending in the Senate, a bipartisan proposal (S.2543), is having difficulty finding traction. Proponents of addressing these key topics are hoping that progress can be made between now and May, when Congress must act on several expiring health authorities.
- The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is seeking nominations for individuals qualified to serve as members of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), an independent body of experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine that works to improve the health of all Americans by making evidence-based recommendations about the effectiveness of clinical preventive services and health promotion. The deadline to submit a nomination is March 15th.
- The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), fresh from a 10-year reauthorization, announced the appointment of Dr. Nakela Cook as its new executive director on January, 15th. Most recently, Dr. Cook served as chief of staff at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at NIH. Read the announcement here.
January 10, 2020
- Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) continues to push for action on his drug pricing legislation, the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act of 2019 (S.2543). Grassley has made appeals to both Senate Majority Leader McConnell, and House Speaker Pelosi to proceed with his bipartisan plan. Grassley’s Senate bill is less comprehensive than the House-passed bill, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R.3), but does have support on both sides of the aisle.
- Progress on surprise medical billing legislation continues to be stalled because of a dispute between House committees. Follow the link to find more information on the End Surprise Billing Act of 2019 (H.R.861).