Legislative Update: January 29, 2019

On Friday, January 25th, Congress and the Trump Administration reached agreement on legislation to end the partial government shutdown. President Trump signed this legislation on Friday night and federal government workers returned to work yesterday (Monday, January 28th). 

Under this agreement, government agencies that were subject to the government shutdown will be funded until February 15th. Lawmakers and the Administration now have three weeks to negotiate a longer-term funding deal. If a deal is not reached, another partial government shutdown could occur. While these negotiations continue, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will continue to operate under normal business.

In the meantime, key Congressional Committees have moved forward with scheduling their first health care hearings of the new Congress. For example, the House Ways & Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Medicare and Medicaid programs and some components of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), is holding a hearing today (Tuesday, January 29th), entitled, “Protecting Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions.” This hearing will provide an overview of how health insurance coverage for those with pre-existing medical conditions has evolved since enactment of the ACA health care law. The hearing notice and related testimony can be viewed here.

It is expected that the House Energy & Commerce and Education & Labor Committees will also hold hearings related to the Affordable Care Act in February.

The Senate Finance Committee is also holding a hearing today on issues related to prescription drug pricing. The hearing, “Drug Pricing in America: A Prescription for Change, Part 1,” is expected to be the first in a series of hearings exploring issues around how to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. The hearing notice and related testimony can be viewed here. The House Committee on Oversight and Reform is also convening a hearing today related to drug pricing. More information on this hearing can be found here.

We will continue to update you as the Congressional agenda further develops.

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