POLICY BRIEFINGS


Obama, Pence Strategize on ACA


President Obama and Vice President-elect Mike Pence headed to Capitol Hill last week to meet with their respective parties to strategize about the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The President told Democrats that they should stress the benefits of his signature health care law to constituents, and defend the improvements the ACA has made to Medicare solvency. The meeting was a part of an effort by Democrats to delay repeal of the law for as long as possible, and to inflict political damage on those seeking to undo it. Pence rallied the House Republican Conference around the majority’s current agenda, at the top of which is repeal of the ACA.


House Formally Elects Leadership


The first order of business for the 115th Congress was to formally elect a Speaker of the House. As was expected, Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was chosen to serve his first full, two-year term in the position, with only one defection from his party. Conservative Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) cast his vote for Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), who challenged Ryan for the position in 2015. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will continue as House Minority Leader, losing four votes from members of her party. Rep. Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.) voted for Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) voted for Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), and Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) voted for Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.).


Leadership/Membership to Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce Announced


Leadership and membership of congressional committees with jurisdiction over health care issues for the 115th Congress were announced last week. Please find attached our updated Guide to the 115th Congress which is updated to provide information on committees with health jurisdiction. Joe Barton (R-Texas) will serve as Vice Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee behind Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), and Michael Burgess (R-Texas) and Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) will serve as Health Subcommittee Chairman and Vice Chairman, respectively. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) will continue to
chair the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, alongside Vice Chairman Morgan Griffith (R-Va.). The Ways and Means Committee will include a new ratio of 25 Republicans and 16 Democrats. The three new members of the Committee are Reps. Carlos Curbelo of Florida, David Schweikert of Arizona and Jackie Walorski of Indiana. There will also be three new Democrats: Brian Higgins of New York, Terri A. Sewell of Alabama and Suzan DelBene of Washington.


Rep. Black to Head Budget Committee


Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has decided that Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) will serve as the interim chairwoman of the House Budget Committee while current Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) is making his way through the Senate confirmation process. President-elect Donald Trump nominated Price for Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last year. The House GOP Steering Committee will name a permanent Budget Committee chair once the confirmation process is complete. As interim Chairwoman, Rep. Black will be at the top of the list to lead the panel when this time comes. She is a former emergency room and long-term-care nurse who strongly supports repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Price has come under criticism from Democrats in recent weeks for his history of trading in health care stocks. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has gone so far as to call for an investigation by the House Office of Congressional Ethics into Price’s trading of shares from firms such as Gilead Sciences Inc., Aetna Inc. and CVS Health Corp while serving on the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) support the call for an investigation. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee is planning to announce a hearing on Price’s nomination for January 18, but a Senate Finance Committee nomination hearing has yet to be announced. The nomination for HHS Secretary is voted on by the Finance Committee.


Biden to Launch Cancer Nonprofit


Vice President Biden plans to launch a non-profit when he leaves office that will continue the work he began through the White House’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative. His aim is to start a national conversation about cancer, rising drug costs, and the accessibility of treatments. The non-profit will focus on many of the same issues as the Cancer Moonshot, including the elimination of research and data siloes and the reduction of racial disparities in diagnoses and treatments.


Trump Administration Staff Announcements


President-elect Trump will nominate Robert Lighthizer for U.S. trade representative. Lighthizer served as deputy U.S. trade representative in the Reagan administration. He also has experience as chief of staff for the Senate Finance Committee, and has worked in international trade law at the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom. The President-elect has selected Jay Clayton to lead the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Clayton is a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP on Wall Street. He has also worked as an adjunct professor at University of Pennsylvania’s law school. Trump also named former Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) to lead the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) (needs confirmation). Coats, who did not seek reelection last November, was a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. He is also a former ambassador to Germany.


Recently Introduced Health Legislation


H.R.35 (introduced by Rep. Burgess): To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify rules relating to health savings accounts; Ways and Means, Judiciary, Energy and Commerce

H.R.55 (introduced by Rep. Lee): To establish a grant program for nebulizers in elementary and secondary schools; Education and the Workforce, Energy and Commerce

H.R.143 (introduced by Rep. Conyers): To prohibit anticompetitive activities and to provide that health insurance issuers and medical malpractice insurance issuers are subject to the antitrust laws of the United States, and for other purposes; Judiciary

H.R.148 (introduced by Rep. Green): To amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to provide incentives for education on the risk of renal medullary carcinoma in individuals who are receiving medical assistance under such title and who have Sickle Cell Disease; Energy and Commerce

H.R.164 (introduced by Rep. Hastings): To provide for an evidence-based strategy for voluntary screening for HIV/AIDS and other common sexually transmitted infections, and for other purposes; Energy and Commerce, Education and the Workforce, Ways and Means, Oversight and Government Reform

H.R.166 (introduced by Rep. Hastings): To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to stabilize and modernize the provision of partial hospitalization services under the Medicare Program, and for other purposes; Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce

H.R.173 (introduced by Rep. Kelly): To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the excise tax on high cost employer-sponsored health coverage; Ways and Means

H.R.175 (introduced by Rep. King): To repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010; Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, Education and the Workforce, Natural Resources, Judiciary, House Administration, Rules, Appropriations

H.R.177 (introduced by Rep. King): To bar Supreme Court decisions in certain Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act cases from citation; Judiciary

H.R.180 (introduced by Rep. Mullin): To amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to eliminate the requirement for 3 months of retroactive coverage under the Medicaid program; Energy and Commerce

H.R.182 (introduced by Rep. Mullin): To prohibit the Secretary of Health and Human Services from using any type of fee collected to advertise or market Exchanges established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Energy and Commerce

H.R.184 (introduced by Rep. Paulsen): To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the excise tax on medical devices; Ways and Means

H.R.208 (introduced by Rep. Young): To waive the essential health benefits requirements for certain States; Energy and Commerce

H.R. 242 (introduced by Rep. Welch): A bill to amend part D of title XVIII of the Social Security Act to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate covered part D drug prices on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries; Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means



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BRIEFING ARCHIVE


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