When is Congress in session? House 2024 Calendar Senate 2024 Calendar

What’s Ahead: This Week

Hearings and Markups –

  • Tuesday, March 12
    • House Energy & Commerce Committee, “Health Subcommittee Markup of 19 Bills.” Additional Information
    • House Ways & Means Committee, “Hearing on Enhancing Access to Care at Home in Rural and Underserved Communities.” Additional Information
  • Thursday, March 14
    • Senate Finance Committee, “The President’s Fiscal Year 2025 Health and Human Services Budget.” Additional Information

Notable Policy Events – 

  • Monday, March 11 to Friday, March 15
  • Monday, March 11
    • HHS, “Secretary Becerra Announces the FY2025 Budget.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
    • National Academy of Medicine, “Health Workforce Well-Being Day Celebratory Event.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
  • Tuesday, March 12
  • Wednesday, March 13
    • CMS, “AHEAD Model Office Hours.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
    • CMS, “Opportunities to Address Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) in 1915(c) and 1915(i) Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Programs.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
    • New England Journal of Medicine, “New Models, Measures & Money: Care Delivery Innovation.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
    • Politico, “Health Care Summit: Into the New Era.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
  • Friday, March 15
    • Fierce Healthcare, “Staying Ahead of the Medicare Conversion Factor.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information

Weekly Wrap-Up: Notable Health Care Developments from Last Week


Government Funding – On March 8, President Biden signed into law the first package of Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations bills. The package includes several notable health care provisions, including extending the Medicare geographic work index floor; extending the alternative payment model (APM) bonus for one year at 1.88 percent; and increasing Medicare physician payment by 2.93 percent from March 8-December 31, 2024. Congress will now turn its focus to the second set of appropriations bills, which includes HHS. It must pass this package by March 22 to avoid a partial government shutdown. Bill Text White House Statement

Medicare & Medicaid –

  • On March 5, Sens. Warren (D-MA), Brown (D-OH), Blumenthal (D-CT), Booker (D-NN), Durbin (D-IL), Markey (D-MA), Merkley (D-OR), Sanders (I-VT), Smith (D-MN), and Welch (D-VT) sent a letter to CMS Administrator Brooks La-Sure and HHS Secretary Becerra urging CMS to make reforms to Medicare Advantage, including strengthening provider encounter and patient data collection and transparency and addressing deceptive marketing practice. Press Release Letter
  • Also on March 5, House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Pallone (D-NJ) and Senate Finance Committee Chair Wyden (D-OR) sent a letter to CMS Administrator Brooks-LaSure urging CMS to require states to commit to a plan for coming into compliance with Medicaid and CHIP eligibility and enrollment requirements. Press Release Letter
  • On March 6, Republican leaders on the House Ways & Means Committee, House Energy & Commerce Committee, and GOP Doctors Caucus sent a letter to CMS Administrator Brooks La-Sure and HHS Inspector General Grimm requesting briefings regarding what steps are being taken to address a Medicare fraud scheme involving catheter billing and prevent its reoccurrence. Press Release Letter 
  • Also on March 6, Senate Budget Committee Chair Whitehouse (D-RI) released a discussion draft that would encourage CMS to adopt hybrid payments for primary care providers in Medicare, provide beneficiaries with cost-sharing relief for certain services, and establish a technical advisory committee to help CMS more accurately determine Fee Schedule rates. Discussion Draft Fact Sheet
  • Also on March 6, HHS announced steps it is taking to assist providers in the wake of the Change Healthcare cyberattack, including issuing guidance to Medicare Advantage organizations, Medicaid managed care plans, and Part D sponsors encouraging them to remove or relax prior authorization requirements. HHS Press Release CMS Statement
  • On March 7, HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report which found HHS made some potential overpayments to providers under the provider relief fund program. Report 
  • On March 8, CMS announced that Utah became the 45th state to expand postpartum Medicaid coverage. Press Release
  • On March 9, CMS announced that it made available Change Healthcare/Optum Payment Disruption (CHOPD) accelerated payments to Part A providers and advance payments to Part B suppliers experiencing claims disruptions as a result of the Change Healthcare cyberattack. Press Release

Payment & Delivery System Models – 

  • On March 4, CMS announced it has decided to conclude the Hospice Benefit Component of the Medicare Advantage Value-Based Insurance Design (VBID) Model on December 31, 2024. CMS will not accept applications to the previously released CY 2025 Request for Applications for the Hospice Benefit Component of the VBID Model. VBID Model
  • On March 7, CMS released the Manufacturer Request for Applications (RFA) for the Cell and Gene Therapy (CGT) Access Model. RFA CGT Model

Public Health Prevention, Preparedness, Surveillance – On March 1, CDC released a notice soliciting nominations for the Communications and Public Engagement Workgroup of the Advisory Committee to the Director. Nominations to the Workgroup are due March 28, 2024. Notice

Health IT, Privacy, & Digital Health – 

  • On March 5, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) published a blog post highlighting its efforts to increase adoption of United States Core Data for Interoperability Plus Cancer, a recommended minimum set of key cancer-related data elements to be included in a person’s electronic health record. Blog
  • On March 7, ONC announced Melinda Kidder as the ONC chief nursing officer (CNO). Press Release

Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Policy – 

  • On March 6, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced the launch of the Rural Opioid Treatment and Recovery Initiative, which will provide nearly $50 million to support establishing and expanding comprehensive substance use disorder treatment and recovery services in rural areas. Press Release

Prescription Drugs & Health Innovation – 

  • On March 4, CMS announced that all manufacturers participating in the first cycle of Medicare drug price negotiations have responded with counteroffers. Negotiations will continue over the next several months. Press Release White House Statement
  • On March 7, HHS released a report on generic drug utilization and spending among Medicare Part D enrollees in 2022. Report

SDOH & Health Equity – 

  • On March 8, CMS released a bulletin on strategies to improve delivery of tobacco cessation services for Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries. Bulletin

Health Systems & Health Workforce –

  • On March 5, the Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and HHS jointly issued a Request for Information (RFI) requesting public comment on deals conducted by health systems, private payers, private equity funds and other alternative asset managers that involve health care providers, facilities or ancillary products or services. Comments are due May 6, 2024. Press Release RFI 
  • Also on March 5, the White House announced the launch of a new Strike Force to crack down on unfair and illegal pricing. DOJ and FTC, along with other agencies on the Strike Force, will focus their collaborative efforts on key sectors where corporations may be violating the law and keeping prices high, including prescription drugs and health care. Press Release

Miscellaneous – 

  • On March 7, Senate HELP Chair Sanders (I-VT) and Ranking Member Cassidy (R-LA) released a request for information (RFI) on policies the Committee should consider during the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (OAA). Responses are due by March 21, 2024. Press Release RFI

Legislative Activity 

Votes & Committee Activity –

  • On March 5, the House passed the Medicaid Primary Care Improvement Act (H.R. 3836) by voice vote. The bill would facilitate direct primary care arrangements under Medicaid. Press Release
  • Also on March 5, the House passed the Preventing Maternal Deaths Reauthorization Act (H.R.  3838) by a bipartisan vote of 382-12. The bill would reauthorize federal support of states in their work to save and sustain the health of mothers during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period, to eliminate disparities in maternal health outcomes for pregnancy-related and pregnancy-associated deaths. Press Release Vote
  • On March 6, the House Ways & Means Committee advanced two health care bills. The bills now move to the full Senate for consideration.
    • The Protecting America’s Seniors’ Access to Care Act (H.R. 7513) would prohibit the HHS Secretary from finalizing a proposed rule regarding minimum staffing for nursing facilities and establish an advisory panel on the skilled nursing facility workforce. Bill Text
    • The Real-Time Benefit Tool Implementation Act (H.R. 7512) would ensure implementation of real-time benefit tools under Part D of the Medicare program. Bill Text

Introduced Legislation –

  • On March 5, Reps. Caraveo (D-CO) and Mann (R-KS) introduced the Prescription Drug Supply Chain Pricing Transparency Act (H.R. 7535), which would require the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct a study and submit a report on price-related compensation and payment structures in the prescription drug supply chain. Bill Text Press Release
  • Also on March 5, Reps. Matsui (D-CA) and Kiggans (R-VA) introduced the Nurse Overtime and Patient Safety Act (H.R. 7546), which would limit the number of mandatory overtime hours a nurse may be required to work in certain providers of services to which payments are made under the Medicare Program. Sens. Merkley (D-OR), Butler (D-CA), Van Hollen (D-MD), and Fetterman (D-PA) introduced companion legislation in the Senate on March 5, 2024. Bill Text Bill Summary Section-By-Section Press Release
  • On March 6, Reps. Schakowsky (D-IL) and 13 cosponsors introduced the Stop Unfair Medicaid Recoveries Act of 2024 (H.R. 7573), which would repeal the requirement that States establish a Medicaid Estate Recovery Program and to limit the circumstances in which a State may place a lien on a Medicaid beneficiary’s property. Bill Text Press Release 

Also on March 6, Sen. Casey (D-PA) introduced the Community Health Worker Access Act (S.3882), which would provide Medicare reimbursement for certain services of community health workers (CHWs) or other community-based providers, and create an optional state Medicaid benefit to cover such services. Press Release One Pager