Legislative Update: January 15, 2019

Today, the federal government entered day 25 of the partial, federal government shutdown. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which administers the federal Medicare and Medicaid programs, is not subject to the government shutdown. However, the shutdown has slowed the regular legislative process as Congress and the Trump Administration seek resolution on border security and related issues at stake in the shutdown considerations. 

While these efforts continue, key Congressional Committees with jurisdiction over health care programs are beginning to signal their legislative priorities for the new Congress. For example, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the new Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, released a statement outlining his priorities for the 116th Congress, which include improving access to care in rural communities and addressing physician, nurse and other health care provider shortages, among other priorities. Click here to view Senator Grassley’s full statement.

Congressman Richard Neal (D-1st-MA), the new Chair of the House Ways & Means Committee also released a statement as he prepared to take over the helm of the Committee, including highlighting his priority to protect the Medicare program. Click here to view Rep. Neal’s full statement. In addition, Congressman Neal and Congressman Kevin Brady (R-8th-TX), who serves as the Ranking Member on Ways & Means, sent a bipartisan letter to CMS Administrator Verma last week requesting more transparency around  “new Medicare models” being tested in the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). This information will be important as Congress, patients, providers, and the broader health care system prepare to potentially participate in new proposals under development. Click here to view the letter. 

Finally, the Senate Finance Committee announced the addition of the following Members to its Committee roster: Senators Daines (R-MT), Lankford (R-OK), Young (R-IN) on the Republican side and Senators Cortez-Masto (D-NV) and Hassan (D-NH) on the Democratic side. 

The Ways & Means Committee will also add new Democratic Members to the roster, including: Representatives Beyer (D-8th-VA), Boyle (D-13th-PA), Evans (D-2nd-PA), Horsford (D-4th-NV), Kildee (D-5th-MI), Moore (D-4th-WI), Murphy (D-7th-FL), Panetta (D-20th-CA), Schneider (D-10th-IL), Souzzi (D-3rd-NY). 

ElevatingHOME looks forward to working with these new key Committee Members in the coming months.