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

What’s Ahead: This Week

Hearings and Markups –

  • Wednesday, March 6
    • House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, “Examining the White House’s Role in Pandemic Preparedness and Response.” Additional Information
    • Senate Budget Committee, “How Primary Care Improves Health Care Efficiency.” Additional Information
  • Thursday, March 7
    • Senate HELP Committee, “The Older Americans Act: Supporting Efforts to Meet the Needs of Seniors.” Additional Information

Notable Policy Events – 

  • Tuesday, March 5
    • AHIP, “Building Member Trust & Loyalty through Community-Based Social Support Groups.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
    • American Medical Association (AMA), “State of the states: What key health care issues are in play this year?” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
    • National Health Council (NHC), “NHC Health Equity Lunch and Learn.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
    • Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy, “AI Transforming Health Care: Trust, Equity, and Policy.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
    • Federal Trade Commission (FTC), “Private Capital, Public Impact: An FTC Workshop on Private Equity in Health Care.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
  • Wednesday, March 6
  • Thursday, March 7
    • AcademyHealth, “A New Blueprint – Establishing a Research Agenda for Equitable, High-Value Care.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
    • AHIP, “A Concrete Approach to Navigating Transparency Regulations in 2024.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
    • Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), “Health IT Advisory Committee Meeting.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
    • Paragon Institute, “Improving Medicare through Medicare Advantage.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
    • The Ripon Society, “Boosting Medical Innovation.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
    • President Biden, “2024 State of the Union Address.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
  • Thursday, March 7 – Friday, March 8
    • Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), “Public Meeting.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
    • Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC), “March 2024 Public Meeting.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information

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

Government Funding – On March 3, Congressional leaders released the ‘‘Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2024,”a package of six fiscal year 2024 appropriations bills. The text includes several health-related 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. Bill Text Congressional Statement

Medicare & Medicaid –

  • On February 26, CMS issued guidance to support states in expanding the pool of behavioral health care providers eligible for enhanced federal Medicaid funding. Guidance
  • On February 28, CMS released the 2024 National Impact Assessment of the CMS Quality Measures Report. CMS assesses the quality and efficiency impact of the use of quality measures in CMS programs every three years. Report
  • On February 29, CMS released the final part one guidance for the new Medicare Prescription Payment Plan, which is intended to ensure that Medicare Part D plan sponsors can successfully implement the Medicare Prescription Payment Plan. Fact Sheet Guidance Press Release
  • Also on February 29, CMS released the latest enrollment figures for Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP. As of November 2023, 66,769,012 people are enrolled in Medicare and 85,815,827 people are enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP. Enrollment Data
  • Also on February 29, Reps. Jayapal (D-WA), DeLauro (D-CT) and Schakowsky (D-IL) led 60 House Democrats in a letter to President Biden, HHS Secretary Becerra and CMS Administrator Brooks-LaSure urging reforms to Medicare Advantage. Press Release Letter
  • Also on February 29, the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) released the final report in a three-part series about the effects of the COVID‑19 pandemic on nursing homes. Report in Brief Report

Marketplaces – On February 29, Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Cassidy (R-LA) sent a letter to Department of Labor Acting Secretary Su urging it to rescind the recently released proposed rule which would limit access to Association Health Plans. Press Release Letter Proposed Rule

Payment & Delivery System Models – On February 26, CMS released the second evaluation report for the Primary Care First (PCF) Model. In the first two years of PCF, practices used model funds to make care delivery changes, including continuing ones they started prior to joining the model, that they believe will ultimately reduce hospitalizations. Evaluation Summary Evaluation Primary Care First 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 February 28, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC)  Tripathi published an article highlighting the “Health Data, Technology, and Interoperability,” (HTI-1) final rule. Article
  • Also on February 28, President Biden issued an Executive Order to protect Americans’ sensitive personal data (including personal health data) from exploitation by countries of concern. Executive Order Fact Sheet

Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Policy – 

  • On February 26, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced $36.9 million in grants supporting behavioral health services. Press Release
  • On February 29, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on the organization of the Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Report
  • On March 1, SAMHSA released a notice soliciting comments on proposed changes to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) for 2025. Comments are due by May 3, 2024. Notice

SDOH & Health Equity – 

  • On February 27, the White House announced nearly $1.7 billion in commitments for the Challenge to End Hunger and Build Healthy Communities. Challenge to End Hunger Press Release
  • Also on February 27, HHS’ Office on Women’s Health (OWH) awarded prizes to winners of the final phase of the Reducing Disparities in Breastfeeding Innovation Challenge, which was created to identify and reward programs that increase breastfeeding initiation and continuation rates in the United States. Challenge Press Release
  • On March 1, nine federal agencies finalized a rule which clarifies religious liberty protections for beneficiaries and prospective beneficiaries of federally funded social services. Press Release Rule
  • Also on March 1, HHS released a read out of the HHS Black Health Forum. Press Release

Health Systems & Health Workforce – On February 27, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) announced several initiatives and resources to address the shortage of professionals who provide services to older adults and people with disabilities. Press Release

Miscellaneous – 

  • On February 26, the VA announced all veterans who were exposed to toxins and other hazards while serving in the military will be eligible to enroll in VA health care beginning March 5, 2024. Press Release
  • On February 29, CMS released a statement on the current status of blood tests for organ transplant rejection. Statement
  • On March 1, CMS released an updated Request for Information (RFI) regarding changes to data request and access policies for researchers. Responses to the updated RFI are due May 15, 2024. RFI Policy Changes

Legislative Activity 

Votes & Committee Activity –

  • On February 29, the House passed a short-term funding bill by a bipartisan vote of 320–99, which was subsequently passed by the Senate in a bipartisan vote of 77–13. President Biden signed the bill into law on March 1 before the funding deadline. The legislation moves the two government funding deadlines to March 8 and March 22, giving lawmakers more time to reconcile their differences on the spending bills and avoid a partial government shutdown. Bill Text Congressional Statement White House Statement

Introduced Legislation –

  • On February 27, Sens. Cassidy (R-LA) and Cantwell (D-WA) introduced the No Fees for EFTs Act (S. 3805), which would prohibit health plans from imposing fees on health care providers for electronic funds transfers and health care payment and remittance advice transactions. Bill Text Press Release
  • Also on February 27, Sens. Welch (D-VT), Padilla (D-CA), Sanders (I-VT), Wyden (D-OR), and Markey (D-MA) introduced the Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLAs) Don’t Count Act of 2024 (S. 3806), which would improve the cost-of-living adjustment exclusion from income under the supplemental nutrition assistance program. Bill Text One Pager Press Release
  • On February 28, Rep. Yakym (R-IN) introduced the Sergeant Ted Grubbs Mental Healthcare for Disabled Veterans Act (H.R. 7464), which would provide for access standards with respect to the provision by the Department of Veterans Affairs of hospital care, medical services, or extended care services for veterans with mental disorders. Press Release
  • Also on February 28, Sens. Gillibrand (D-NY) and Casey (D-PA) introduced the Strategic Plan for Aging Act (S. 3827), which would require the Assistant Secretary for Aging to award grants to states, Indian tribes, and tribal organizations to create or implement multi-sector plans for aging and aging with a disability. Press Release
  • On February 29, Rep. Barragan (D-CA) and 12 cosponsors introduced the Improving Social Determinants of Health Act (H.R. 7481), which would authorize the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to carry out a Social Determinants of Health Program. Sen. Smith (D-MN) and seven cosponsors introduced the companion legislation in the Senate (S. 3847).  Bill Text One Pager Press Release
  • Also on February 29, Reps. Beatty (D-OH) and DeLauro (D-CT) introduced the Women’s Heart Health Expansion Act (H.R. 7482), which would reauthorize the WISEWOMAN program. Press Release
  • Also on February 29, Rep. Chu (D-CA) and 28 bipartisan cosponsors introduced the Increasing Access to Mental Health in Schools Act (H.R. 7489), which would increase the recruitment and retention of school-based mental health services providers by low-income local educational agencies. Bill Text Press Release
  • Also on February 29, Sens. Tillis (R-NC) and Kelly (D-AZ) introduced the Alternatives to Prevent Addiction in the Nation (Alternatives to PAIN) Act (S. 3832), which would ensure appropriate access to non-opioid pain management drugs under part D of the Medicare program. Bill Text Press Release

Also on February 29, Sen. Booker (D-NJ) introduced the South Asian Heart Health Awareness Act (S. 3850), which would provide for research and improvement of cardiovascular health among the South Asian population of the United States. Bill Text Press Release