What’s Ahead: This Week


  • Monday, February 27
    • House Veterans Affairs Committee, “Assessing VA’s Risks for Drug Diversion.”
  • Tuesday, February 28
    • House Judiciary Committee, “Markup: The Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 372) and the Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017 (H.R. 1215).”
    • Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and House Veterans Affairs Committee, “Legislative Presentation of the Disabled American Veterans.”
  • Wednesday, March 1
    • House Education and the Workforce Committee, “Legislative Proposals to Improve Health Care Coverage and provide Lower Costs for Families.” Legislation to be discussed includes the Small Business Health Fairness Act (H.R. 1101), and discussion drafts of the Self-Insurance Protection Act and the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act.
  • Thursday, March 2
    • House Energy & Commerce Committee, Health Subcommittee, “Examining FDA’s Generic Drug and Biosimilar User Fee Programs.”

Notable Policy Events

  • Monday, February 27
    • Pharmaceutical research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and the National Pharmaceutical Council (NPC), “Understanding the Strengths and Limitations of Value Assessment Frameworks.” Additional information: http://bit.ly/2lo1cfY
  • Monday, February 27 – Wednesday, March 1
    • American Medical Association, “National Advocacy Conference.” Additional information: http://bit.ly/2ldWD7Y
    • Institute for Defense and Government Advancement, “Military Healthcare Conference.” Additional information: http://bit.ly/2lKswZ0
  • Tuesday, February 28
    • The Hill and USC Schaeffer, “The Value of a Cure: Ensuring Access and Encouraging Innovation.” Additional information: http://bit.ly/2ldNw7z
  • Wednesday, March 1
    • National Coalition on Health Care, “Primary Care: Its Essential Role in Value-Based Health Care.” Additional information: http://bit.ly/2lKgzT9
  • Thursday March 2
    • Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission, (MACPAC), “March Public Meeting.” Additional information: http://bit.ly/2lnPEcW
  • Thursday, March 2 – Friday, March 3
    • Medicare Payment Advisory Committee (MedPAC), “March Public Meeting.” Additional information: http://bit.ly/2lo3qMx

Weekly Wrap Up: Notable Health Care Developments From Last Week


On February 24, President Trump signed an executive order that would direct federal agencies to establish task forces that will be responsible for evaluating existing regulations and identifying candidates for repeal or modification. Press release: http://bit.ly/2lnXd3g Executive Order: http://bit.ly/2lo0JdV

ACA Repeal

  • On February 22, House Ways & Means Committee, Subcommittee on Health Ranking Member Levin (D-MI) wrote a letter to Committee Chair Brady (D-TX) urging a full and transparent evaluation of any efforts to repeal the ACA. Press release: http://bit.ly/2lKwjWb Letter: http://bit.ly/2lKFCW1
  • On February 23, United States Conference of Mayors sent a letter signed by more than 100 bipartisan Mayors to Congressional leaders urging them to take into consideration the effect that the repeal of the ACA will have on cities. Letter: http://bit.ly/2lenSiN
  • On February 25, Democratic Governors Association (DGA) Chair Malloy (D-CT) and Vice Chair Inslee (D-WA) sent a letter on behalf of the DGA to Congressional Leaders urging them not to shift Medicaid costs to the states through block grants or per capita caps. Press release with text of letter: http://bit.ly/2lnM3M0


On February 23, CMS issued guidance extending a policy that allows issuers of certain health insurance plans that would not otherwise comply with all of the ACA’s regulations to continue to offer such coverage through December 31, 2018. Guidance: http://go.cms.gov/2lKIKkX

Medicare and Medicaid

  • On February 23, CMS announced the development of a Market Saturation and Utilization Data Tool, formerly called the Moratoria Provider Services and Utilization Data Tool, that includes interactive maps and a dataset showing national-, state-, and county-level provider services and utilization data for selected health service areas. Press release: http://go.cms.gov/2loiNEE Tool: http://bit.ly/2lSpC4I
  • Also on February 23, CMS released a quarterly list of published Federal Register notices related to Medicare and Medicaid from October through December of 2016. Notice: http://bit.ly/2mlQAzs

New Payment and Delivery Models

On February 22, CMS released materials from previously held webinars on the Shared Decision Making Model (SDM), the Direct Decision Support (DDS) Model, and the Episodic Payment Models (EPM). Materials: http://bit.ly/2lo3mfT and http://bit.ly/2lodzZz and http://bit.ly/2lo8LU7

Health IT

On February 21, Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) announced the Phase 2 winners of the Move Health Data Forward Challenge. The five winners were awarded $20,000 each for the final phase of the challenge to develop applications allowing individuals to share their personal health information safely and securely with their health care providers, family members, or other caregivers. Press Release: http://bit.ly/2likTG2 

Substance Abuse and Mental Health

  • On February 21, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced that it is accepting applications for a total of $5.6 million in FY 2017 National Strategy Grants, to implement the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. Applications are due by April 10. Press release: http://bit.ly/2mgbF1t
  • On February 22, SAMHSA announced that it is accepting applications for a total of up to $20 million in Substance Abuse and HIV Prevention Navigator Program grants promoting services for people at an elevated risk for HIV/AIDS and substance use disorders. Applications are due by April 17. Press release: http://bit.ly/2lCcOil
  • On February 23, House Committee on Energy & Commerce Chair Walden (R-OR), Ranking Member Pallone (D-NJ), Oversight & Investigations Subcommittee Chair Murphy (R-PA) and Ranking Member DeGette (D-CO) sent a letter to the Office of National Drug Control Policy requesting their assistance in questioning federal agencies about their plans to address the public health threat posed by fentanyl, a synthetic opioid. Press release: http://bit.ly/2lnUt5H Letter: http://bit.ly/2lo6oAA
  • On February 24, CDC released a report finding that the age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths in 2015 (16.3 per 100,000) was more than 2.5 times the rate in 1999 (6.1 per 100,000). Report: http://bit.ly/2loeIQK


  • On February 21, Senate HELP Committee Chair Alexander (R-TN), Ranking Member Murray (D-WA), House Energy & Commence Committee Chair Walden (R-OR), Ranking Member Pallone (D-NJ), Health Subcommittee Chair Burgess (R-TX), and Ranking Member Green (D-TX) sent a letter to colleagues highlighting the importance of vaccines, noting “vaccines save lives.” Press release: http://bit.ly/2lKxsNn Letter: http://bit.ly/2lKpVyh
  • Also on February 21, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report finding that during 2012-2013, adults over the age of 65 had an emergency department visit rate of 12 percent for injuries and 36 percent for illness. Report: http://bit.ly/2leOf8n
  • Also on February 21, National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced the launch of a phase 1 clinical trial testing a vaccine intended to provide broad protection against a range of mosquito-transmitted diseases and to hinder the ability of mosquitoes to transmit infections. Press release: http://bit.ly/2kW6rmm
  • On February 22, House Committee on Energy & Commerce Ranking Member Pallone (D-NJ), Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Green (D-TX), and Committee Members Lujan (D-NM), Schrader (D-OR) and Ruiz (D-CA) sent a letter to the Full Committee Chair Walden (R-OR) and Health Subcommittee Chair Burgess (R-TX) requesting a hearing on the Indian Health Service. Press release: http://bit.ly/2le1UfP Letter: http://bit.ly/2ldRKfo
  • On February 23, CDC released estimates based on data from the January-September 2016 National Health Interview Survey, finding that during the period of the survey, 8.8% of people in the U.S. were uninsured, a significant drop from 16.0% in 2010. Data: http://bit.ly/2leJLyF
  • On February 24, Senate Judiciary Chair Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Ernst (R-IA) sent a letter to the Justice Department asking it to explain the penalties levied against and Iowa nursing home over “grossly substandard care.” Press release: http://bit.ly/2m29aix Letter: http://bit.ly/2mCrCuT
  • Also on February 24, CDC released a report on health care access and health services use among adults aged 18 to 64, finding substantial variation in health insurance coverage, health care access and use of preventive services by state. Report: http://bit.ly/2kUZbfa