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

What’s Ahead: This Week

Hearings and Markups – 

  • Tuesday, May 7
    • House Appropriations Committee, “Budget Hearing: Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 Request for the Drug Enforcement Administration.” Additional Information
  • Wednesday, May 8
    • House Appropriations Committee, “Member Day: Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies.” Additional Information
    • House Small Business Committee, “Stifling Innovation: Examining the Impacts of Regulatory Burdens on Small Businesses in Healthcare.” Additional Information
    • Senate Appropriations Committee, “A Review of the President’s Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Request for the Food and Drug Administration.” Additional Information
    • Senate Budget Committee, “Reducing Paperwork, Cutting Costs: Alleviating Administrative Burdens in Health Care.” Additional Information
  • Friday, May 10
    • House Ways & Means Commmittee, “Field Hearing on Empowering Native American and Rural Communities.” Additional Information

Notable Policy Events –

  • Tuesday, May 7
    • Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP), “SDOH Benchmarking: An Inside Look.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
  • Wednesday, May 8
    • Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness (ABHW), “Building the Future of Behavioral Health with Artificial Intelligence.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
  • Thursday, May 9
    • AvaMed, “Congressional Digital Health Caucus Briefing: The Impact and Promise of Remote Patient Monitoring.” Additional Information
    • CMS, “States Advancing All-Payer Health Equity Approaches and Development (AHEAD) Model: Primary Care AHEAD Webinar.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
    • Health Affairs, “Lunch and Learn: The 20th Anniversary of the ONC.” Free, Virtual. Additional Information
  • Thursday, May 9 – Saturday, May 11

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

Medicare & Medicaid –

  • On April 30, CMS released the latest enrollment figures for Medicaid, Medicaid, and CHIP. As of January 2024, 66,990,317 people are enrolled in Medicare and 84,041,447 people are enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP. Enrollment Data
  • On May 2, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) announced the appointments to the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC). Announcement
  • On May 3, HHS released a report on Medicare Part D vaccinations in 2023. 10.3 million Medicare Part D enrollees received a recommended vaccine free of charge, which saved enrollees more than $400 million in out-of-pocket costs. Report
  • Also on May 3, CMS released a notice announcing an opportunity to comment on CMS’ draft guidance for the second cycle of the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Program and manufacturer effectuation of the maximum fair price for 2026 and 2027 for the implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act. Comments are due July 2, 2024. Guidance

Marketplaces – On April 30, the Department of Labor (DOL) released a rule rescinding the DOL’s 2018 rule entitled “Definition of Employer Under Section 3(5) of ERISA—Association Health.” This rule is effective July 1, 2024. Rule

Public Health Prevention, Preparedness, Surveillance – 

  • On May 2, GAO published a report on the strategic national stockpile (SNS) coordination. GAO provides three recommendations to HHS, including defining and sharing SNS roles, developing procedures for updating guidance, and assessing unique tribal issues. Report
  • On May 3, Senate HELP Committee Ranking Member Cassidy (R-LA) sent a letter to President Biden urging the Administration to issue a plan detailing research priorities related to the H5N1 influenza (Avian Flu) outbreak. Press Release Letter

Health IT, Privacy, & Digital Health – 

  • On April 29, HHS shared its plan for promoting responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI) in automated and algorithmic systems by state, local, tribal, and territorial governments in the administration of public benefits. The plan aligns with the Executive Order on AI. Plan HHS Press Release White House Press Release
  • On April 30, HHS published the Notice of Publication of Common Agreement for Nationwide Health Information Interoperability Version 2.0 on the Federal Register. Notice
  • Also on April 30, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director Prabhakar and Domestic Policy Adviser Tanden issued a statement in recognition of ONC’s 20th anniversary. Statement

Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Policy – 

  • On April 30, Senate Finance Chair Wyden (D-OR) released a statement on reports that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will reschedule cannabis as a Schedule III controlled substance. Statement
  • On May 2, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released an infographic report highlighting substance use and mental health indicators among older adults aged 60 or older in the United States. Report
  • Also on May 2, SAMHSA announced the 2024 State Opioid Response (SOR) and Tribal Opioid Response (TOR) Notices of Funding Opportunity, which would provide funding to address overdose crises in state and tribes. Press Release

Prescription Drugs & Health Innovation – 

  • On April 30, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued letters to 10 pharmaceutical companies to warn them their patent listings were invalid. The letters targeted “junk listings” on patents for 20 drug products. Additionally, the FTC notified the FDA that it disputes the patent listings. Press Release Warning Letters
  • On May 3, Senate Finance Committee Chair Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Crapo (R-ID) released discussion draft legislation to combat drug shortages. The draft proposal would establish new authority and resources within Medicare to reform provider purchasing of generic drugs at high risk of shortage and modify the Medicaid program to allow generic manufacturers to address economic challenges creating shortages for numerous retail drugs. Discussion Draft Section-by-Section One-Pager

SDOH & Health Equity – 

  • On April 29, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced it invested $105 million in the Healthy Start Program to support community-based organizations working to improve maternal and infant health. Award Recipients Press Release
  • On April 30, the CMS Office of Minority Health released the 2024 Disparities in Health Care in Medicare Advantage by Race, Ethnicity, and Sex Report, which provides a summary of the quality of health care received by people enrolled in Medicare Advantage, focusing on differences in patient experience and clinical care quality based on race, ethnicity, and sex in 2023. Report
  • Also on April 30, Office of Justice Programs and CMS Office of Minority Health jointly released a Coverage to Care (C2C) guide to support individuals upon release from incarceration and re-entering the community to connect to health coverage and health services. C2C Guide
  • On May 1, HHS finalized a rule that updates, modernizes, clarifies, and strengthens the implementing regulation for Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  Section 504 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance. Fact Sheet Final Rule Press Release

Health Systems & Health Care Workforce – 

  • On April 23, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) voted to issue a final rule that would prevent most employers from enforcing noncompete agreements against workers. The rule is effective 120 days after publication in the federal register. Final Rule Press Release
  • On April 25, HHS announced 20 states that have been selected to participate in technical assistance programs that will help states better recruit, train, and retain direct care workers, who provide home and community-based services (HCBS) for older adults and people with disabilities. Issue Brief Press Release

Misc. – On May 3, HHS released a rule updating the definitions used to determine whether a consumer is eligible to enroll in a Qualified Health Plan (QHP) through an Exchange; a Basic Health Program (BHP) in States that elect to operate a BHP; and for Medicaid and CHIP. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and certain other noncitizens will be included in the definitions of “lawfully present” that are used to determine eligibility. Rule Press Release Fact Sheet

Legislative Activity 
Introduced Legislation –

  • On April 29, Reps. Bergman (R-MI) and Dingell (D-MI) introduced the Rural 340B Access Act of 2024 (H.R. 8144), which would include rural emergency hospitals in the definition of a covered entity for purposes of the 340B drug discount program. Bill Text Press Release
  • Also on April 29, Reps. Kelly (R-PA), Thompson (D-CA), and Smith (R-NE) introduced H.R. 8151, which would expand eligible practitioners to furnish telehealth services. Bill Text Press Release
  • Also on April 29, Reps. Murphy (R-NC), Burgess (R-TX), Van Orden (R-WI), and Nehls (R-TX) introduced the (H.R. 8154), which would extend telehealth services for federally qualified health centers and rural health clinics. Bill Text Press Release
  • On April 30, Sens. Mullin (R-OK), Sinema (I-AZ), Scott (R-SC), and Hassan (D-NH) introduced the Medicaid VBPs for Patients (MVP) Act (S. 4204), which would codify value-based purchasing arrangements under the Medicaid program and reforms related to price reporting under such arrangements. Reps. Guthrie (R-KY) and Eshoo (D-CA) introduced the companion legislation in the House (H.R. 2666) on April 18. Bill Text Press Release
  • On May 1, Rep. Caraveo (D-CO) and 17 cosponsors introduced the Increasing Nutrition Access for Seniors Act (H.R. 8199), which would simplify supplemental nutrition assistance program access for elderly and disabled individuals. Bill Text Press Release
  • Also on May 1, Rep. Cardenas (D-CA) and six cosponsors introduced the Pediatric Access to Critical Healthcare (PATCH) Act (H.R. 8200), which would award grants to eligible entities to carry out construction or modernization projects designed to strengthen and increase capacity within the specialized pediatric health care infrastructure. Sens. Padilla (D-CA) and Casey (D-PA) introduced the companion legislation in the Senate (S. 4238). Bill Text One-Pager Press Release
  • Also on May 1, Reps. Gomez (D-CA), Beyer (D-VA), Huffman (D-CA), and Del. Norton (D-DC) introduced the Choose Medicare Act (H.R. 8207), which would establish Medicare Part E public health plans. Sen. Merkley (D-OR) and 11 cosponsors introduced the companion legislation in the Senate (S. 4231). Bill Text Press Release
  • Also on May 1, Reps. Smucker (R-PA), Bilirakis (R-FL), Walberg (R-MI), Craig (D-MN), Thompson (D-CA), and Wild (D-PA) introduced the Medicare Enrollment Protection Act of 2024 (H.R. 8217), which would provide for a special enrollment period under Medicare for individuals enrolled in COBRA continuation coverage. Press Release
  • Also on May 1, Reps. Trone (D-MD) and Nunn (R-IA) introduced the Occupational Therapy and Mental Health Parity Act (H.R. 8220), which would clarify coverage of occupational therapy under the Medicare program. Sens. Hassan (D-NH) and Scott (R-SC) introduced the companion legislation in the Senate (S. 1592) on May 15, 2023. Bill Text One-Pager Press Release
  • Also on May 1, Sen. Booker (D-NJ) and 22 cosponsors introduced the Access to Birth Control Act (S. 4223), which would establish certain duties for pharmacies to ensure provision FDA-approved contraception and medication related to contraception. Bill Text Press Release
  • Also on May 1, Sens. Rosen (D-NV) and Cornyn (R-TX) introduced the Reducing Drug Prices for Seniors Act (S. 4229), which would require that coinsurance for drugs under Medicare Part D be based on the drug’s net price and not the drug’s list price. Press Release
  • On May 2, Reps. Hern (R-OK), Lee (D-NV), Malliotakis (R-NY), and Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced the Behavioral Health Accessibility Act of 2024 (H.R. 8227), which would remove in-person requirements under Medicare for mental health services furnished through telehealth and telecommunications technology. Press Release Bill Text

Also on May 2, Rep. Murphy (R-NC) introduced H.R. 8235, which would modify the distribution of certain additional graduate medical education positions under the Medicare program. Press Release