Health Care Checkup
June 2, 2023
THE BIG PICTURE
Early Friday morning, the Senate cleared the debt limit package, which suspends the debt limit through 2024 and imposes spending caps for fiscal years 2024 and 2025, 63-36 and sent it to President Biden's desk after a series of votes on amendments, all of which were all rejected. The legislation, negotiated by the White House and House GOP negotiators, passed through the house by a vote of 314-117 on Wednesday. President Biden will address the nation tonight at 7:00 PM to speak on “on averting default and the Bipartisan Budget Agreement." You can read the full bill here.
 
Advocates for Medicaid are concerned that high disenrollment rates are a sign some states, such as Arkansas, Indiana, and Florida, aren’t working hard enough to renew Medicaid coverage for constituents. Read more about CMS’s disenrollment concerns here.
 
The FDA proposed a rule on Tuesday to require certain prescription drugs to inform patients of directions for use and necessary information to prevent adverse side effects. The guide is expected to use simple medication information to help fight health care misinformation and disinformation. Read more here, and find the complete FDA full press release here.

Medicare Advantage enrollment surpassed traditional Medicare enrollment as many medical groups struggle to manage requests for MA prior authorization requests. CMS proposed three rules to streamline the process, but there are new concerns that the debate around the debt limit could create new challenges for the costly legislation. Find the complete article here

According to recent reports, President Biden plans to name former North Carolina Health Secretary and Obama administration alum Dr. Mandy Cohen as the next director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), replacing outgoing CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. Find the complete article here.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)announced its intention to increase coverage for patients taking Leqembi, or lecanemab, from Biogen and Eisai, following traditional product approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). More information can be found here.

Biden administration officials announced its plans to launch a government-wide framework to better coordinate and support smoking cessation efforts as part of the White House's Cancer Moonshot. The draft framework aims to harmonize smoking cessation resources and efforts through existing agencies, such as Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Department of Veterans Affairs. More information can be found here. The White House Cancer Moonshot Smoking Cessation Forum held on Thursday, June 1, can be found here, and more information on the administration's plans can be found here.
What to Expect Next Week: The House and Senate will be back in session next week. On Tuesday, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a markup, where H.R. 824, the Telehealth Benefit Expansion for Workers Act of 2023 will be considered among others. On Thursday, the Senate Committee on Finance will hold a hearing titled, "Consolidation and Corporate Ownership in Health Care: Trends and Impacts on Access, Quality, and Costs," and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions will hold a hearing titled, "Why Are So Many American Youth in a Mental Health Crisis? Exploring Causes and Solutions." Additionally, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce's Health Subcommittee will hold a field hearing next Friday at Gettysburg National Park titled, "Addressing the Opioid Crisis: Examining the SUPPORT Act Five Years Later.”
DEEP DIVE
Debt-Limit Bill Passes Both Chambers, Heads to President's Desk
The legislation, negotiated by the White House and House GOP negotiators, passed through the house by a vote of 314-117 on Wednesday. The bill suspends the debt limit through 2024 and would impose spending caps for fiscal years 2024 and 2025. Early Friday morning, the Senate cleared the debt limit package 63-36 and sent it to President Biden's desk after a series of votes on amendments which were all rejected. 44 Democrats, 17 Republicans, and 2 Independents (Sinema & King) voted for final passage of the bill. 4 Democrats, 31 Republicans, and 1 Independent (Sanders) voted against final passage of the bill. President Biden announced he will address the nation tonight on “on averting default and the Bipartisan Budget Agreement." You can read the full bill here.
 
Medicaid Disenrollment Rates Rise in Arkansas, Indiana, and Florida
Advocates for Medicaid are concerned that high disenrollment rates are a sign some states aren’t working hard enough to renew Medicaid coverage for constituents. Arkansas, Indiana, and Florida are among the states reporting high levels of disenrollment. Recent data shows administrative reasons account for 88% of the 52,985 people who lost coverage in Florida and Indiana. However, Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services Director Daniel Tsai said there is no sign of any federal rule violations. He added that the most they can do is encourage states to go beyond federal requirements by increasing outreach before terminating beneficiary benefits for non-responders. Read more about CMS’s disenrollment concerns here.
 
FDA Proposes Medication Guide Updates for Certain Prescription Drugs
The FDA proposed a rule on Tuesday to require certain prescription drugs to inform patients of directions for use and necessary information to prevent adverse side effects. The guide is expected to use simple medication information to help fight health care misinformation and disinformation. Research suggests medication nonadherence accounts for close to 25% of hospital admissions, 50% of treatment failures, and around 125,000 deaths in the United States annually. A clear and concise explanation of drug usage directions and side effects is expected to reduce misuse and would be implemented over the next five years if approved. Read more here, and find the complete FDA full press release here.
 
Some Lawmakers Concerned that Debt-Limit Politics Could Impede Medicare Advantage Prior Authorization Bill
Medicare Advantage enrollment surpassed traditional Medicare enrollment as many medical groups struggle to manage requests for MA prior authorization requests. CMS proposed three rules to streamline the process, but there are new concerns that the debate around the debt limit could create new challenges for the costly legislation. Senator Roger Marshall's (R-KS) office said debt ceiling negotiations had no impact on the reintroduction of the bill, but the expected cost of $10 billion over 10 years is contrary to the Republican push for greater fiscal responsibility. Find the complete article here

President Biden Intends to Name Dr. Mandy Cohen as Next Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
According to recent reports, President Biden plans to name former North Carolina Health Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen as the next director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), replacing outgoing CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. Dr. Cohen served North Carolina as the state's secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services for four years (2017-2021) as North Carolina's secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. She also is an alumni of the Obama administration, serving as the chief operating officer and chief of staff at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Dr. Cohen is currently an executive at Aledade, a company that supports physicians and community health clinics. Find the complete article here.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Announces Plan to Cover New Alzheimer's Drug Following Approval by the Food and Drug Administration
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure announced announced on Thursday, June 1, CMS' intention to increase coverage for patients taking Leqembi, or lecanemab, from Biogen and Eisai, following traditional product approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If approved, CMS would be allowed to provide proper coverage for patients enrolled in a registry that supports the collection of real-world information to study the usefulness of the drug. More information can be found here.

Biden Administration Plans to Launch Government-Wide Framework to Support Smoking Cessation Efforts as Part of Cancer Moonshot
As part the White House's Cancer Moonshot Smoking Cessation program, Biden administration officials announced on Thursday its plan to launch a government-wide framework to coordinate and harmonize the smoking cessation efforts and resources. Agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Department of Veterans Affairs, would focus on marginalized communities who smoke at disproportionately higher rates and preventing minors from using e-cigarettes. FDA Commissioner Robert Califf also confirmed on Thursday that the agency is on track to finalize the rules that would ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars this summer. More information can be found here. The White House Cancer Moonshot Smoking Cessation Forum held on Thursday, June 1, can be found here, and more information on the administration's plans can be found here.
CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS
House Committee on Education and the Workforce - Markup
Markup: H. Res. 461, Condemning the use of elementary and secondary school facilities to provide shelter for aliens who are not admitted to the United States. H.R.1147, Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act of 2023 H.R.2813, Self-Insurance Protection Act H.R.2868, Association Health Plans Act H.R.824, Telehealth Benefit Expansion for Workers Act of 2023
Tuesday, June 6 at 10:15 AM ET

Consolidation and Corporate Ownership in Health Care: Trends and Impacts on Access, Quality, and Costs
Thursday, June 8 at 10:00 AM ET

Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee - Hearing
Full Committee Hearing: "Why Are So Many American Youth in a Mental Health Crisis? Exploring Causes and Solutions."
Thursday, June 8 at 10:00 AM ET

House Committee on Energy and Commerce - Field Hearing
Health Subcommittee: "Addressing the Opioid Crisis: Examining the SUPPORT Act Five Years Later"
Friday, June 9 at 9:30 AM ET
ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCEMENTS
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
 
Food and Drug Administration
 
Guidance Documents from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

National Institutes of Health
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