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.


Former President Jimmy Carter Enters Hospice Care

Former President Jimmy Carter, 98, has begun receiving hospice care following a series of short hospital stays, according to The Carter Center. He has opted to forgo additional medical intervention in favor of spending his remaining time at home with his family, according to the statement from the center. Carter served as the 39th president of the United States from 1977 to 1981. He is the nation’s oldest living President and the nation’s longest-lived president.

Senate Appropriations Announces Subcommittee Rosters

Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-Maine) have announced their panel’s subcommittee chairs, ranking members, and full rosters for the 118th Congress. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) will serve as chair and ranking member of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) will serve as chair and ranking member of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee. The full details on subcommittee leadership and rosters can be found here. Hart Health Strategies Inc. continues to update our Guide to the 118th Congress. This living document provides a list of health professionals serving in Congress, House and Senate leadership, congressional health committee members, and biographies on new members of Congress.

Coronavirus Panel Jumpstarts COVID-19 Origins Investigation

Republicans on the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic are requesting testimony, classified briefings, and documents from current Biden administration officials, U.S. intelligence agencies, and Anthony Fauci regarding the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. The lawmakers are looking to further delve into theories that the coronavirus originated from laboratory experiments and gain-of-function research – possibly funded by U.S. dollars – in Wuhan, China, rather than from a Chinese market as much evidence indicates. Letters requesting information were sent to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, former National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci, EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, and White House adviser Francis Collins. Fauci has repeatedly stated that he would be willing to testify before any congressional committee if asked.

New GAO Report on Private Equity and IRB Effectiveness

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a new report last week regarding private equity consolidation of institutional review boards (IRBs). The report came at the request of Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chair Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) due to concerns about the increased use of independent IRBs and the effect on protecting human subjects. The GAO makes four recommendations to improve federal oversight of IRBs, including that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration conduct annual risk assessments to determine if the agencies are routinely inspecting an adequate number of IRBs and to optimize the use of inspections in the oversight of IRBs and protection of research participants. GAO also suggests that agencies examine and implement approaches for measuring IRB effectiveness.

Feinstein Announces Retirement Decision

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) announced her decision to not run for a seventh Senate term in 2024. Feinstein, 89, is the chamber’s longest serving Democrat and its oldest member. Her decision to retire was widely expected, with Reps. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) having previously announced bids for her seat in the Senate. Feinstein is currently a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Appropriations Committee.

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