Week Ahead: Of Convictions and Congress

Donald Trump made history on May 30 as the first former President to be convicted of a felony. Congress now returns for the first time since that conviction, and many lawmakers will be focusing their attention on the fallout from the verdict. We won’t add to the pile of punditry that has already been printed but will instead focus on the latest health care policy news.  Welcome to the Week Ahead!

The Administration

ACLA Tests the Legal Waters with LDT Lawsuit

As the former president prepares his appeal, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is preparing for a legal fight of its own. On May 29, the American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA) announced it was filing a lawsuit against the FDA to stop the agency’s Final Rule to regulate laboratory-developed tests (LDTs) as medical devices. The ACLA argues that Congress never gave the FDA the authority to regulate these tests.

So what?  The lawsuit is just the latest effort by the ACLA to stop this rule from going into effect. We expect the lab industry to follow the lawsuit with increased lobbying. Some Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee have expressed concerns about potential unintended consequences from the rule, but what will become of efforts to pull back the rule?


Multiplan Madness

Senate Finance Committee Chair Wyden (D-OR) and Senate HELP Committee Chair Sanders (I-VT) are looking to get answers from Mutliplan regarding concerns about certain practices the company uses when negotiating out-of-network payment rates for insurers. Specifically, the Senators are concerned these practices increase costs for patients and may be allowing insurers to skimp on fulfilling their obligations to patients. They requested a response by June 5. Here are some things to watch for:

  • Will the two Democratic chairs get any help from their GOP Ranking Members?
  • Will we see any corresponding action in the House?

Senate Health Care Hearings 

  • June 4: Senate HELP Committee hearing on the Impact of Abortion Bans on Women’s Health
  • June 5: Senate Special Committee on Aging and Senate VA Committee hearing on Services for Veterans and Their Caregivers

The House

Checking in with Ways and Means

Work continues behind the scenes at the House Ways and Means Committee on provisions that could find their way in a late year, post-election health care package:

  • Telehealth: It sounds like a 2-year extension of telehealth flexibilities is picking up steam and is likely before year’s end. While advocates would love action before the November elections, it’s unclear at best if Congress can agree on addressing the issue sooner than December.
  • Rural health: In addition to the bills passed out of the Committee at its May 8 markup, the Committee is hoping to move additional rural bills before summer’s end. Any measures cleared by the Committee will be in play to move in a larger health package during the lame duck session.
  • Medicare physician payment: With Congress waiting for the release of the Medicare physician fee schedule in late June, it’s hard to see any significant movement on Medicare payment legislation before the election. In addition, word is that there is growing interest among policymakers in H.R. 6371, the Provider Reimbursement Stability Act, which would address Medicare’s budget neutrality requirement.

House Health Care Hearings

  • June 3: House Oversight and Accountability Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic hearing with Dr. Fauci
  • June 4: House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing on 340B Drug Pricing Program
  • June 4: House Natural Resources legislative hearing, including H.R. 6395, Recognizing the Importance of Critical Minerals in Healthcare Act of 2023

There You Have It

Summer is officially here! Have any big summer travel plans? Favorite summer- time activities? Let us know! Make it a great week!

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