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News & Press: Member Spotlight

This Week on the Hill, November 27 - December 1, 2017

Monday, November 27, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: TCAA Staff
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Time is of the essences as Congress returns from recess this week with just 15 working days to address several upcoming deadlines, key legislative initiatives, and even a potential government shutdown.



The House returns Tuesday to consider several bills under suspension of the rules. The chamber votes on Wednesday to require all its members and other employees to complete an annual anti-discrimination and anti-harassment training program.


The Senate returns from recess today, and is expected to vote this week on a number of judicial nominations and other measures.

The Senate Budget Committee meets Tuesday to package together its comprehensive tax reform bill with legislation to sell oil and gas extraction rights in a protected portion of Alaska – a move expected to win the support of moderate GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who was a consistent no-vote during ACA repeal and replace efforts in recent months.

As currently written, the Senate bill would repeal the ACA's individual mandate –yielding more than $300 billion in savings but potentially destabilizing health care markets – and make other changes with health care effects.

Senate GOP leadership is preparing for floor action on the tax bill later in the week, along with a likely vote-a-rama, as Republicans attempt to pass the bill without any Democratic votes. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has yet to secure the 50 votes needed to pass comprehensive tax reform by the end of the year, and a number of influential Republicans – including Bob Corker (TN), Susan Collins (ME), Jerry Moran (KS), Jeff Flake (AZ), and Ron Johnson (WI) – have already expressed concerns or opposition to the bill in its current form.


Government Funding/Debt Ceiling: The December 8 deadline to pass a government funding bill and lift the debt ceiling is quickly approaching, and little progress has been made since a temporary spending package was passed as part of deal struck between the president and Democratic leaders in September. President Trump and congressional leaders are planning to meet Tuesday to discuss how to sidestep a shutdown and work though the massive legislative to-do list before the end of the year. It’s unlikely that a full omnibus funding bill will emerge, and we expect a short-term spending resolution through the holidays.

CHIP: Nearly two months have passed since the September 30 deadline to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), leaving states scrambling to cover roughly 9 million low- and middle-income children who rely on the program. The House-passed CHIP and health center renewal package (HR 3922) adds offsets disputed by Democrats (led by New Jersey rep. Frank Pallone). A prepared Senate measure omits offsets (S 1827). The CHIP renewal provisions are expected to be attached in December to a year-end spending package.

Community health centers: Funding for health centers also expired at the end of September. Though the uncertainty has caused angst for health centers, they haven’t yet seen a monetary impact. But that impactcould come onJan. 1for 25 percent of centers and onFeb. 1 for another 17 percent,because that’s when their new grant periods begin.

ACA Taxes: Several Obamacare taxes are scheduled to go into effect in 2018, and a number of industry organizations are pushing to delay or repeal those taxes before the end of the year. Examples include the 2.3 percent tax on medical devices and an industry tax on health insurance, which was delayed for two years as part of the 2015 spending bill.

Opioid Funding: In late October, President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency, but stopped short of authorizing new funding for the crisis, noting that the administration would welcome a funding bill from Congress. With a jam-packed December, advocates worry the new year could begin without more money to help curb the crisis of prescription painkillers and heroin that’s ravaged the country.



Tuesday, November 28


House Oversight and Government Reform Committee field hearing on "Combating the Opioid Crisis." 12:30 p.m., Johns Hopkins Hospital, 1800 Orleans St., First Floor, Chevy Chase Auditorium, Baltimore, MD.


Wednesday, November 29


Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on the nomination of Alex Michael Azar II to be Health and Human Services secretary. 9:30 a.m., 430 Dirksen Bldg.

Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee markup of the "Caring for our Veterans Act of 2017," intended to improve veterans' healthcare services at the Veterans Affairs Department and in the community. 2:30 p.m., 418 Russell Bldg.


Thursday, November 30


SHealth Subcommittee of House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on "Implementing the 21st Century Cures Act: An Update from FDA and NIH." 10:00 a.m., 2123 Rayburn Bldg.

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on "The Front Lines of the Opioid Crisis: Perspectives from States, Communities, and Providers." 10:00 a.m., 430 Dirksen Bldg.





Monday, November 27


House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) holds a discussion on the opioid crisis. 11:30 a.m., 115 J.W. Williams Road, Building B, Rooms 103, 104 and 105, Prince Frederick, MD.


Tuesday, November 28


The Kaiser Family Foundation webcast on "The Future of Delivery System Reform in Medicare: Assessing the Evidence and Looking Ahead." 12:30 p.m.


Health IT Now holds a congressional briefing titled "Time for Telehealth: Harnessing the Power of Health IT to Bring Medicare into the 21st Century," convening a panel of experts for a conversation about the possibilities of telehealth and the need for congressional action before year's end.12:00 p.m., 2203 Rayburn Bldg.


Wednesday, November 29


America's Health Insurance Plans holds a webinar, "Deriving Value from Clinical Data." 1:00 p.m.



Thursday, November 30


CQ Roll Call holds a briefing on "Medicare 2065," focusing on the future of the program. 8:00 a.m., The Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Eighth Floor, Knight Conference Center, Washington, D.C.



Friday, December 1


The Alliance for Health Policy (AHP) and the Commonwealth Fund hold a briefing on "What's Next for Medicare Provider Payment?" 12:00 p.m., G-50 Dirksen Bldg.


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