Legislative Update: April 9, 2019

Congress returned yesterday for one more week of session before adjourning for the Passover and Easter holidays. This week, Committee action is expected on a slate of health care bills related to drug pricing and health insurance proposals. 

On April 9, the Senate Finance Committee will hold its third hearing on drug prices. Witnesses will include Cigna, CVS, Humana, OptumRx and Prime Therapeutics and the focus will be on the role of pharmacy benefit managers.

Also on April 9, the Ways & Means Committee will mark up a bipartisan bill to require greater transparency of prescription drug pricing. The House Energy & Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on the rising cost of insulin this week. Finally, the House Education & Workforce Committee will meet on Tuesday to consider legislation to nullify short-term, limited duration health insurance plans that critics suggest offer inadequate health insurance coverage, particularly for patients with pre-existing medical conditions.

In other news, on April 5, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released new rules related to the use of telehealth in the Medicare Advantage (MA) program. The new rule allows MA plans to offer new benefits, including allowing beneficiaries to receive telehealth services at home and other locations.

Finally, ElevatingHOME continues to work with policymakers on key legislative priorities. An updated bill-tracking grid that provides information on the legislative status of top priority home health and hospice legislation is available here. Key focus areas continue to include legislation to ensure fair Medicare home health payment under the Patient Driven Groupings Model (PDGM) and proposals to expand education around and access to hospice care.

ElevatingHOME will continue to provide updates on these critical proposals in the coming weeks.