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Congress

January 22, 2021 | Daily News

President Joe Biden on Friday (Jan. 22) revoked the Trump administration’s controversial executive order setting up a new category of federal employees that would have made it easier to terminate or transfer civil servants and career scientists and replace them with employees friendly to administration policies.

January 21, 2021 | Daily News

The House Energy & Commerce health subcommittee, and possibly the oversight subcommittee, are expected to hold coronavirus hearings the week of Feb. 1, according to lobbyists.

January 15, 2021 | Daily News

The new makeup of the House Energy & Commerce Committee nearly guarantees raucous hearings as five of the eight new GOP members voted against certifying the presidential election outcome, despite there being no basis for claims of a stolen election, and one Republican member who did not vote against certification had earlier backed a Texas lawsuit that tried to delay certification of results.

January 15, 2021 | Daily News

Incoming Senate health committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) has asked HHS Secretary Alex Azar to rescind all the policies it has imposed on FDA in recent months and to defer to FDA for all future agency policy changes, according to a Thursday (Jan. 14) letter obtained by Inside Health Policy.

January 14, 2021 | Daily News

President-elect Joe Biden late Thursday (Jan. 14) unveiled a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that would pump $20 billion into a national vaccination program that results in 100 million vaccinations by the end of his first 100 days.

January 13, 2021 | Daily News

President Trump Wednesday (Jan. 13) signed bipartisan legislation that removes an anti-trust exemption for insurance companies under the McCarran-Ferguson Act, a move quickly welcomed by the Justice Department, which can now take on antitrust oversight of insurers.

January 08, 2021 | Daily News

The wins in Georgia putting Democrats back in control of the Senate open the door for a reconciliation package that could include pieces of Biden’s health care agenda, such as increasing Affordable Care Act tax credits, removing the “subsidy cliff” and encouraging states to take up Medicaid, but passage of a public option is still unlikely, health policy experts and lobbyists say.

January 07, 2021 | Daily News

Democrats will take control of the Senate starting Jan. 20, shifting power on the Senate health and appropriations committees that drive key health care policies, and sources speculate the result could be increased appropriations and COVID-19 response funding for FDA and passage of landmark marijuana decriminalization legislation that could hand FDA a new regulatory role.

January 06, 2021 | Daily News

HHS late Tuesday evening (Jan. 5) indicated it planned to exempt distilleries and other small businesses that supplied hand sanitizer during the COVID-19 public health emergency from FDA’s over-the-counter monograph user fee program.

December 28, 2020 | Daily News

Kidney patient advocates are thrilled that the year-end spending bill includes a long-sought policy change that requires Medicare to cover immunosuppressive drugs for kidney transplant patients for as long as the treatment is needed.

December 24, 2020 | Daily News

The year-end bill’s $3 billion provider relief fund is far less than the $35 billion spending pot expected by providers, as lawmakers decided at the last minute it would be adequate to direct HHS to reuse an estimated $20 billion in reclaimed or unused provider relief in future distributions.

December 24, 2020 | Daily News

The year-end spending package Congress passed Monday night (Dec. 21) includes reforms aimed at increasing Medicare beneficiaries’ access to post-acute care.

December 24, 2020 | Daily News

The 2020 year-end package that passed the House and Senate Monday (Dec. 21) includes a number of policies aimed at improving hospice care, and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization says the bill will help provide uninterrupted access to hospice providers during the pandemic -- though the group will closely watch how the program integrity provisions are implemented.

December 22, 2020 | Daily News

Congress this morning struck pieces of long-standing policy that had essentially given states primary responsibility for insurance regulation, despite pushback from the state insurance regulators and industry stakeholders who warned that striking the antitrust exemption for health insurance in the McCarran-Ferguson Act could have far reaching implications and would only add administrative burden.

December 22, 2020 | Daily News

Congress on Tuesday (Dec. 22) axed a decades-old policy that blocked the federal government stepping into anti-trust issues involving health insurers, despite pushback from the state insurance regulators and industry that argued striking the antitrust exemption in the McCarran-Ferguson Act was a far-reaching move that would undermine state regulation of insurers, create conflicting federal and state oversight, and spur costly litigation.

December 22, 2020 | Daily News

Congress on Tuesday (Dec. 22) axed a decades-old policy that blocked the federal government stepping into anti-trust issues involving health insurers, despite pushback from the state insurance regulators and industry that argued striking the antitrust exemption in the McCarran-Ferguson Act was a far-reaching move that would undermine state regulation of insurers, create conflicting federal and state oversight, and spur costly litigation.

December 22, 2020 | Daily News

Congress’ year-end package tackles a wide range of Medicare policies lawmakers discussed throughout 2020, which include addressing workforce shortages through Medicare graduate medical education, extending rural health care programs and codifying CMS’ public-private partnership to find health care waste and fraud.

December 22, 2020 | Daily News

Drug makers are largely unscathed by the year-end government spending bill because Congress instead used hospital surprise billing legislation to pay for coronavirus relief, but the legislative package does include proposals that were part of drug price transparency bills, including one to give congressional Medicare and Medicaid advisers data on closely guarded rebates.

December 22, 2020 | Daily News

Congress on Monday evening (Dec. 21) passed a combined year-end spending and coronavirus relief package that gives FDA a total of $3.2 billion in discretionary funding in fiscal 2021, a $43 million dollar increase over fiscal 2020 levels, and $55 million for the agency’s COVID-19 response efforts.

December 21, 2020 | Daily News

As part of the year-end package, lawmakers plan to mitigate effects of changes to the 2021 physician fee schedule that would raise pay for some while drastically cutting pay for others, according to a House Ways & Means Republican summary, and the bill also is expected to extend the Medicare sequester moratorium for three months -- a shorter extension than sought by providers.

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