Fall Expected to be Busy Time in D.C. for Health Legislation
Written by Editor   
Thursday, September 21, 2017 03:23 PM

Despite the sometimes tempestuous relationship between Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill, several healthcare bills are likely to be put into play this fall.  “This fall is shaping up to be a busy and productive one in healthcare,” a senior House Republican aide said. “There are a couple of things that there is strong bipartisan support for,” one of which is the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), he continued.

Another area of bipartisan support has been Medicare “extenders" -- parts of the Medicare program that expire unless they're renewed, but they don't have to be authorized until year's end, so there is less urgency to work on them, the aide said.

A senior House Democratic aide noted that in the House, "in some ways, healthcare is a subtext to taxes, appropriations ... and the debt ceiling," she said. "On a global basis, [House members] will continue on with smaller Medicare member-related bills." The aide said her committee is looking for Medicare extenders that can be passed on a bipartisan basis, but the challenge is how to offset any new spending that is called for. 

One bill that is of interest is H.R. 3111, a measure sponsored by Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) to add dental, hearing, and vision coverage to Medicare, she continued. “Anybody who knows someone over 65, they've got one of those issues."

Issues related to drug treatment and pricing also are on the radar, according to a senior Senate Democratic aide. “The House has legislation from Sen. [Ron] Johnson [R-Wisc.] on expanded access to treatment [that has already passed the Senate] … and the drug pricing conversation will continue," the aide said, adding that there is interest in the latter issue among both Democrats and Republicans.

Source:  https://www.medpagetoday.com/PublicHealthPolicy/HealthPolicy/67489