POLICY BRIEFINGS


White House Hosts Cancer Moonshot Summit


The Administration hosted a summit last week at Howard University as a part of the cancer moonshot to debut a number of new projects associated with the initiative. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) will begin a new public-private partnership with more than 20 biopharmaceutical companies to accelerate researchers’ access to both approved drugs and those still being developed. The administration also announced that it will be redesigning the NCI’s website to make it easier for patients to search for and sign up for clinical trials. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the creation of an Oncology Center of Excellence, which will bring together oncology experts across the agency to speed the development and approval of new cancer  treatments. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will launch a pilot program to grant priority review for patent applications dealing with immunotherapy treatments, aimed at completing their reviews within 12 months.


CBO Scores Opioid Legislation


The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has evaluated The Recovery Enhancement for Addiction Treatment Act (TREAT) Act (S. 1455) and found that it would increase deficits by $3.1 billion over the next decade. The bill would increase the number of patients a doctor can treat with buprenorphine from 100 to 500, but this high cost casts doubt on the likelihood of its advancement. The CBO also scored a measure passed by the House (H.R. 4981, Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Expansion and Modernization Act) that would allow physician assistants and nurse practitioners to prescribe medication-assisted treatment (MAT), as well as enable pharmacists to partially fill prescriptions for painkillers at the request of the prescriber or patient. The non-partisan budget agency found that this policy change would ultimately save money and expand access for addiction treatment. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) final rule on the buprenorphine cap is expected to be released in the coming weeks. HHS had proposed to increase the cap to 200 patients. Additionally, the House and Senate Opioid Conference Committee is scheduled to meet this week to reconcile the differences between each chamber’s version of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). Negotiations may be complicated by Democratic demands for appropriating new spending to combat the opioid addiction epidemic.


Hatch Releases Stark Law Reform White Paper


Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has released a 19-page document entitled Why Stark, Why Now? Suggestions to Improve the Stark Law to Encourage Innovative Payment Models. The white paper outlines how the Stark Law interferes with delivery system and payment reform and offers commentary on possible reforms. It highlights stakeholders’ perspectives on the law’s complexity, severe penalties, and significant compliance costs.


Upcoming Congressional Meetings and Hearings


POSTPONED: House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing “Strengthening our National Trauma System

Meeting of House and Senate Conferees on S. 524, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA); 10:00 a.m., 2123 Rayburn Bldg.; July 6

House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee markup of FY 2017 Labor/HHS Bill; 9:00 a.m., 2358-C Rayburn Bldg.; July 7

House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee hearing entitled “Defying the Constitution: The Administration’s Unlawful Funding of the Cost Sharing Reduction Program;” 10:00 a.m., 1100 Longworth Bldg.; July 7

House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing on “Examining the Advancing Care for Exceptional Kids Act;” 10:15 a.m., 2322 Rayburn Bldg.; July 7

House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing on “The ACA’s Cost Sharing Reduction Program: Ramifications of the Administration’s Decision on the Source of Funding for the CSR Program;” 9:15 a.m., 2322 Rayburn Bldg.; July 8

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



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