Washington Update - September 29, 2017
- On October 5, Senate HELP Committee has a hearing on federal response to the opioid crisis.
- On October 4, AAFP Board Officers will meet with leaders in Washington, DC.
- On October 4, House Energy and Commerce Committee will mark up a bill to extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program, community health centers, the National Health Service Corps, and Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education.
- On October 3, House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee will hold a hearing on investigational drugs and right-to-try legislation.
The Senate’s drive to repeal Obamacare in FY 2017 collapsed in the face of Republican opposition. On September 25, the AAFP wrote to the Chairman and Ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee in opposition to the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson proposal which failed to win the Senate’s support. It appears that the FY 2018 budget resolution will not call for both tax and health reform under the simple majority reconciliation process, and thus, the health reform debate has paused.
On September 28, the House of Representative approved legislation extending Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) program funding for three months. The extension was included in HR 3823(www.congress.gov), a bill to fund disaster assistance and other programs. The Senate approved it by unanimous consent, and President Donald Trump is expected to sign it. The AAFP signed a joint letter to congressional leaders urging sustained THCGME support. House and Senate leaders are committed to a long-term reauthorization later this year for these key primary care workforce programs. Sixty-one bipartisan Senators signed a letter(www.blunt.senate.gov) in support of the Community Health Centers Fund, THCGME and the National Health Service Corps.
The AAFP cosigned a letter to Rep. Michael Burgess, MD, the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, in support of the Educating Medical Professionals and Optimizing Workforce Efficiency and Readiness “EMPOWER Act” (HR 3728(www.congress.gov)) to reauthorize the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Title VII health professions grant programs through FY 2022.
The Senate on September 26 by voice vote passed the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic “CHRONIC” Care Act (S. 870(www.congress.gov)) and the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage Family Caregivers Act or the RAISE Family Caregivers Act, (S. 1028(www.congress.gov)). The AAFP commented on the CHRONIC Care Act in a statement and the RAISE Family Caregivers Act in a letter.
On September 28, the AAFP and Kentucky AFP sent a letter to the Kentucky Joint Committee on Licensing, Occupations, and Administrative Regulations opposing legislation to expand scope of practice for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses.
The AAFP sent a letter on September 27 to HHS that nominated David T. O'Gurek, MD and Robert “Chuck” Rich, Jr., MD for the Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force.
In a letter sent to HHS on September 27, the AAFP responded to the development of the Healthy People 2030 framework. After supporting these science-based, 10-year national objectives for promoting health and preventing disease, the comment letter offered suggestions to improve the utility of Healthy People 2030.