Senate HHS Spending Bill Advances Out of Committee

The $162 billion Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Education appropriations bill for fiscal year (FY) 2017 was favorably reported out of both subcommittee and full committee in the Senate last week. The spending bill is $270 million less than the currently enacted funding level. HHS would receive $76.9 billion, an increase of $1.4 billion. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) would receive a $2 billion increase over FY 2016, for a total budget of $34 billion. Funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would be cut by $118 million. The bill also includes an additional $400 million for research to combat Alzheimer’s disease, and an increase in $100 million for the Precision Medicine Initiative. Efforts to fight antibiotic resistance and opioid abuse would also receive boosts under the Senate appropriations legislation. The issue of antibiotic resistance would receive $626 million in FY 2017, up from $573 million, and opioid abuse would receive $261 million in FY 2017, up from $135 million during the current fiscal year. The bill would eliminate funding for the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). The House Appropriations Committee has not yet scheduled a time to take up its version of the spending bill.

Upcoming Congressional Meetings and Hearings

House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations hearing titled “Combatting Superbugs: U.S. Public Health Responses to Antibiotic Resistance;” 10:00 a.m., 2322 Rayburn Bldg.; June 14

House Energy and Commerce Committee markup of several bills including H.R. 2546, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act; 2123 Rayburn Bldg.,5:00 p.m. (opening statements only), June 14; consideration of the bill continues at 10:00 a.m., June 15

House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology hearing titled “SBIR / SSTR Reauthorization: A Review of Technology Transfer;” 9:30 a.m., 2318 Rayburn Bldg.; June 16

House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health field hearing titled “Access and Accountability: Examining Obstacles to High Quality Patient Care in Louisiana;” 3:00 p.m., Pineville City Council Chambers, Pineville City Hall, 910 Main Street, Pineville, LA 71360, June 20

Senate Appropriations Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing to examine a review of the Dept. of Veterans Affairs’ electronic health record (VistA), progress toward interoperability with the Department of Defense’s electronic health record, and plans for the future; 10:30 a.m., 124 Dirksen Bldg.; July 13

Recently Introduced Health Legislation

H.R.5395 (introduced by Rep. Michael C. Burgess): A bill to require studies and reports examining the use of, and opportunities to use, technology-enabled collaborative learning and capacity building models to improve programs of the Department of Health and Human Services, and for other purposes; to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce; June 7

H.R.5396 (introduced by Rep. Jim McDermott): A bill to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for coverage of dental, vision, and hearing care under the Medicare program; to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committee on Ways and Means, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned; June 7

H.R.5399 (introduced by Rep. David P. Roe): A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to ensure that physicians of the Department of Veterans Affairs fulfill the ethical duty to report to State licensing authorities impaired, incompetent, and unethical health care activities; to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs; June 7

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