Hart Health Strategies provides a comprehensive policy briefing on a weekly basis. This in-depth health policy briefing is sent out at the beginning of each week. The health policy briefing recaps the previous week and previews the week ahead. It alerts clients to upcoming congressional hearings, newly introduced bills, regulatory announcements, and implementation activity related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and other health laws.


Congress Returns from Memorial Day Recess

Lawmakers will return from Memorial Day recess this week, with the Senate scheduled to reconvene today and hold a procedural vote on a House-passed bill (H.R. 3967) to improve health care and benefits for veterans exposed to toxic substances. The House of Representatives returns on Tuesday. The House plans to vote on a gun-control package advanced by the Judiciary Committee last week (the Protecting Our Kids Act) and a separate bill to implement a nationwide extreme risk – or red flag – law (both bills discussed further below). Lawmakers will also hope to kick off work on the fiscal year 2023 defense authorization (H.R. 7900) this week. The next coronavirus response package remains stalled, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) stating that he is waiting for House Democrats and Senate Republicans to reach an agreement on how the package should be paid for.

Lawmakers Continue Gun Control Debate

Health care provider organizations – including the American Medical Association (AMA), American Hospital Association, Federation of American Hospitals, National Medical Association, and American College of Surgeons – are calling on Congress to pass bipartisan legislation to curb gun violence. Their advocacy follows the latest mass shooting in Tulsa, Oklahoma where a man killed four people, including his surgeon, at a local medical center on a hospital campus. According to local police, the shooter was motivated by his disappointment with his recent back surgery. The AMA endorsed the Protecting Our Kids Act (H.R. 7910), which was cleared by the House Judiciary Committee last week in a 25-19 party-line vote. The package combines several gun-safety measures, including provisions that would raise the legal age of purchase for some semi-automatic rifles, address gun trafficking, establish safety requirements for the residential storage of firearms, and ban bump stocks and high-capacity magazines. The bill is unlikely to gain traction in the evenly divided Senate, where a bipartisan group of lawmakers is negotiating other gun violence measures with a greater potential to gain the support of at least 10 Republicans.

The House of Representatives will vote on the Protecting Our Kids Act when the chamber reconvenes for the June work period this week. House leadership had previously announced plans to also take up separate red-flag legislation introduced by Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.) that would allow federal courts to grant petitions from family members and law enforcement officers to temporarily remove firearms from individuals who pose an extreme risk to themselves or others. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has stated that an assault-style weapons ban is also under consideration. President Joe Biden called for a ban on sales of assault weapons and highcapacity magazines in a prime-time address from the White House last week.

Republican Healthy Future Task Force Releases Modernization Recommendations

The Modernization Subcommittee of the House GOP’s Healthy Future Task Force released its solutions to harness technological innovations to improve Americans’ lives and save taxpayer dollars last week. The proposals aim to expand access to innovative healthcare technologies, including telehealth, and utilize software to reduce fraud, waste, and abuse in the healthcare system. The solutions propose to:

  • Safeguard and maintain expanded telehealth access after the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration expires;
  • Crackdown on fraud, waste, and abuse by incentivizing states to go after improper payments and utilizing state-of-theart technology; and
  • Expand access to innovative, patient-centered technologies to improve patients’ well-being.

The Healthy Future Task Force was established by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in June 2021 to lower costs, keep Americans healthy, develop better therapies and cures, and provide Americans with more health care choices.

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