Director of Precision Medicine Cohort Selected

Eric Dishman, Vice President and Intel Fellow of Intel Corporation’s Health and Life Sciences Group, has been chosen as Director of the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) Cohort Program. He will lead the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) work on a longitudinal study of one million volunteers to advance precision medicine. Mr. Dishman was a part of the PMI Working Group that developed the design for this research study. In addition to his experience in the private sector, Mr. Dishman himself has benefited from access to precision medicine during his 23-year battle with a rare form of kidney cancer.

Analysis Shows Rising Out-of-Pocket Costs for Consumers

A new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation indicates that out-of-pocket costs are rising for consumers of employer-sponsored health coverage. Employees have seen these costs rise by 77 percent between 2004 and 2014, while the plans’ average payment per enrollee only increased by 58 percent. Plans paid for 85.3 percent of covered medical expenses in 2014, a decrease from 86.7 percent in 2004. The increase in workers’ deductibles is most responsible for this rise in out of pocket spending, increasing from $99 in 2004 to $353 in 2014. Payments towards coinsurance rose 107 percent, while payments for copays decreased by 26 percent.

Conservatives Push for Elimination of Lame Duck Session

Conservative leaders and lawmakers, headed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), are seeking to eliminate the lame-duck congressional session that would take place following the November elections. They fear that this time period could be used to confirm Merrick Garland, the President’s Supreme Court nominee, or to move legislation supported by President Obama, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal. A letter is currently being circulated that urges Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to promise that there will be no legislative session between Election Day and the start of the 115th Congress. When the 2016 congressional calendar was released early this year, it included dates for a lame duck session (Nov. 14 – Dec 16).

Upcoming Congressional Meetings and Hearings

House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing on “Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015: Examining Physician Efforts to Prepare for Medicare Payment Reforms;” 10:15 a.m., 2322 Rayburn Bldg.; April 19

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing: “A Continued Assessment of Delays in Veterans’ Access to Health Care;” 10:30 a.m., 334 Cannon Bldg.; April 19

House Appropriations markup: FY 2017 Agriculture/FDA Bill, Energy and Water Bill, and Revised Report on the Interim Suballocation of Budget Allocations; 10:30 a.m., 2359 Rayburn Bldg.; April 19

House Veterans’ Affairs Health Subcommittee hearing on: H.R. 2460; H.R. 3956; H.R. 3974; H.R. 3989; draft legislation to ensure that each VA medical facility complies with requirements relating to scheduling veterans for health care appointments and to improve the uniform application of directives; and, draft legislation to direct VA to establish a list of drugs that require an increased level of informed consent”; 10:00 a.m., 334 Cannon Bldg.; April 20

Senate Special Aging Committee hearing on the committee’s investigation into the sudden, aggressive price spikes of decades-old prescription drugs; time and place TBA; April 27

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