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

What’s Ahead: This Week

Hearings and Markups –

  • Monday, March 18
    • House Ways & Means Committee, “Access to Health Care in America: Ensuring Resilient Emergency Medical Care.” Additional Information
  • Wednesday, March 20
    • House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, “Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Request for the Department of Health and Human Services.” Additional Information
    • House Ways & Means Committee, “Hearing with Health and Human Services Secretary Becerra.” Additional Information
    • Senate Special Committee on Aging, “Keeping Our Promises to Older Adults and People with Disabilities: The Status of Social Security Today.” Additional Information
  • Thursday, March 21
    • House Energy & Commerce Committee, “Evaluating Approaches to Diagnostic Test Regulation and the Impact of the FDA’s Proposed Rule.” Additional Information
    • House Oversight and Accountability Committee, Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, “Assessing America’s Vaccine Safety System, Part 2.” Additional Information
    • House Oversight and Accountability Committee, Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Information Technology, and Government Innovation, “White House Overreach on AI.” Additional Information
    • House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Health, “Legislative Hearing on Pending Legislation.” Additional information

Notable Policy Events – 

  • Tuesday, March 19
    • Becker’s Healthcare, “Digital Health + Telehealth Virtual Event.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
    • Center for Health Care Strategies, “Expanding Access to Personal Care and Homemaker, Respite, and Asthma Remediation Services Under Medicaid: CalAIM Community Supports Early Adopters.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
    • Health Affairs, “Policy Spotlight: One-on-One with Douglas Jacobs, the Chief Transformation Officer of the Center for Medicare at CMS.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
    • Health Information Technology Advisory Committee (HITAC), “Interoperability Standards Workgroup.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
    • Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), “2024 TEFCA RCE Monthly Informational Call.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
    • POLITICO Live, “Corrective Action: How to Address Prescription Drug Costs.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
  • Wednesday, March 20
  • Monday, March 18 to Thursday, March 21
    • American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), “AMIA 2024 Informatics Summit.” Paid, In-Person/Virtual. Additional Information

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

Medicare & Medicaid –

  • On March 11, CMS released information on Medicaid and CHIP coverage of new treatments for sickle cell disease (SCD) on a new website highlighting opportunities to improve care. Website
  • On March 12, CMS released a Report to Congress highlighting best practices from the Money Follows the Person (MFP) Demonstration. Report MFP Demonstration
  • On March 13, Sens. Scott (R-FL), Braun (R-IN) and Vance (R-OH) sent a letter to Government Accountability Office (GAO) Comptroller General Dodaro requesting an audit of Medicare, following reports of the $2.7 billion Medicare catheter fraud. Press Release Letter
  • Also on March 13, CMS released a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document on the Change Healthcare/Optum Payment Disruption (CHOPD) Accelerated and Advance Payments for Part Providers and Part B Suppliers. FAQs
  • On March 14, the GAO released a report which found that, as of December 2023, CMS had made limited progress on its plans to analyze Medicaid managed care appeals and grievances data and make data available to the public. Report
  • On March 15, CMS released an informational bulletin announcing flexibilities to help state Medicaid agencies provide needed relief to Medicaid providers and protect access to health care coverage in response to the Change Healthcare Cyberattack. Bulletin
  • Also on March 15, CMS released an informational bulletin and slide deck to address questions CMS has received from states, stakeholders, and external partners regarding the permissibility of certain practices during Medicaid and the CHIP renewals. Bulletin Slide Deck

Marketplaces – On March 15, HHS released a report on the changes over time in Marketplace insurance coverage in HealthCare.gov states and the association between various demographic and plan characteristics. Report

Payment & Delivery System Models – 

  • On March 14, CMS published an article in Health Affairs providing an update to its Medicare value-based care strategy, reporting on progress and considerations for the future in its three key objectives: alignment, growth, and equity. Article
  • Also on March 14, the House Budget Committee Health Care Task Force held a roundtable discussion on the CMS Innovation Center and opportunities for reform. Press Release

Health IT, Privacy, & Digital Health – 

  • On March 12, Micky Tripathi, the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released a blog post highlighting the development of the Health Data, Technology, and Interoperability: Patient Engagement, Information Sharing, and Public Health Interoperability Proposed Rule (HTI-2). Blog Post
  • On March 13, HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued a “Dear Colleague” letter addressing the Change Healthcare cyberattack.  OCR is initiating an investigation into this incident, focusing on whether a breach of protected health information occurred and compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Rules. Press Release Letter 
  • On March 14, ONC released a resource document intended to support and inform the implementation of health IT products used by maternal health care providers. Resource
  • On March 15, FDA released a report highlighting how the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER), Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), and Office of Combination Products (OCP) are working together to regulate Artificial Intelligence and Medical Products. Report
  • Also on March 15, FDA released a blog post, “Harnessing the Potential of Artificial Intelligence.” Blog Post

Prescription Drugs & Health Innovation On March 14, Senate Finance Committee Chair Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Crapo (R-ID) sent a letter to Committee members reiterating their commitment to passing pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) reform. Press Release Letter

Health Systems & Health Workforce – On March 13, Sen. Hassan (D-NH) sent a letter to United Healthcare urging it to take immediate action to assist hospitals and doctors whose operations have been impacted by the Change Healthcare attack, especially small providers in rural areas. Press Release Letter

Miscellaneous – 

  • On March 11, President Biden released his Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 budget request. HHS proposes $130.7 billion in discretionary (a $2.2 billion or 1.7 percent increase from the 2023 level) and $1.7 trillion in mandatory proposed budget authority for FY 2025. FY25 Budget HHS Budget in Brief White House Fact Sheet
  • On March 12, Senate Finance Committee Chair Wyden (D-OR) and Senate HELP Committee Chair Sanders (I-VT) sent a letter to HHS Secretary Becerra, Treasury Secretary Yellen, and Acting Labor Secretary Su requesting that federal agencies issue guidance to insurers to suppress cost-sharing practices that lead to surprise medical bills after patients receive preventative services. Letter Press Release

Legislative Activity 

Votes & Committee Activity – On March 12, the House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee advanced 19 bills to improve patient health to the full Committee. Most bills passed unanimously, including bills that would extend the National Alzheimer’s Project, reauthorize a program to tackle provider burnout, and boost rural emergency medical services. Markup Press Release
Introduced Legislation –

  • On March 12, Rep. Carter (R-GA) and seven bipartisan cosponsors introduced the Telehealth Modernization Act of 2024 (H.R. 7623), which would make certain telehealth flexibilities permanent under the Medicare program. Bill Text Press Release
  • Also on March 12, Rep. Matsui (D-CA) introduced the 340B Patients Act (H.R. 7635), which would ensure the accessibility of drugs furnished under the 340B drug discount program. Bill Text Press Release
  • Also on March 12, Reps. Porter (D-CA), Doggett (D-TX), Schakowsky (D-IL), and DeLauro (D-CT) introduced the Justice for Patients Act (H.R. 7641), which would prohibit the inclusion of mandatory pre-dispute arbitration clauses and clauses limiting class action lawsuits in health insurance contracts. Press Release
  • Also on March 12, Sens. Smith (D-MN) and Stabenow (D-MI) introduced the Medicaid Bump Act (S.3921), which would provide a higher Federal matching rate for increased expenditures under Medicaid for behavioral health services. Press Release
  • Also on March 12, Sen. Kennedy (R-LA) introduced the Patients Choice Act of 2024 (S.3932), which would prohibit the Secretaries of HHS, Labor, and the Treasury from finalizing a rule proposing restrictions on short-term limited duration insurance. Bill Text Press Release
  • Also on March 13, Reps. Wenstrup (R-OH) and Schneider (D-IL) introduced the Primary and Virtual Care Affordability Act (H.R. 7681), which would extend the exemption for telehealth services from certain high deductible health plan rules. Press Release
  • Also on March 13, Sens. Whitehouse (D-RI) and Barrasso (R-WY) and Reps. Kilmer (D-WA), Smith (R-NE), Gallagher (R-WI) and DelBene (D-WA) reintroduced the ACO Assignment Improvement Act which would allow nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other non-providers to contribute toward accountable care organization (ACO) assignments. Press Release
  • On March 13, Representative Barragán (D-CA) introduced the Housing Alignment and Coordination of Critical and Effective Supportive Health Services (ACCESS) Act (H.R. 7647), which would direct the Secretary of HHS to provide guidance to State Medicaid agencies, public housing agencies, Continuums of Care, and housing finance agencies on connecting Medicaid beneficiaries with housing-related services and supports. Press Release
  • Also on March 13, Rep. Ciscomani (R-AZ) introduced the Oversight of Medicare Billing Code Cost Act (H.R. 7652), which would increase oversight and transparency with respect to Medicare billing codes. Bill Text Press Release

On March 14, Sens. Carper (D-DE), Menendez (D-NJ), Warner (D-VA), Cassidy (R-LA), Cronyn (R-TX), and Scott (R-SC) introduced the Delivering Unified Access to Lifesaving Services (DUALS) Act of 2024. The bill would require each state, with support from CMS, to select, develop and implement a comprehensive, integrated health plan for dual-eligible beneficiaries. Bill Text One Pager Press Release