D.C. Update – February 22, 2017


Capitol Hill Happenings

News from the States

In the News

Upcoming Events


Capitol Hill Happenings

Senate Finance Committee holds confirmation hearing for Seema Verma, appointee for CMS administrator

Last week the Senate Finance Committee held a confirmation hearing for Seema Verma, President Donald Trump’s nominee to serve as administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). During the hearing, Ms. Verma, who is a health policy consultant, expressed support for helping rural and other health care providers avoid unnecessary burdens from federal regulatory requirements, including those related to the use of electronic health records. She voiced support for reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Additionally, during the hearing Ms. Verma said that she would consider the idea of block granting Medicaid or enacting per-capita caps. Ms. Verma is best-known for her role in developing Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0, the Medicaid expansion plan under former Governor Mike Pence.

Watch the entire confirmation hearing here.

News from the States

Ohio Joint Study Committee on Drug Use Prevention Education releases recommendations on substance abuse education in schools

The Ohio State General Assembly has released the Ohio Joint Study Committee on Drug Use Prevention Education’s report of recommendations on options for implementing age-appropriate substance abuse education in schools across all grade levels. In August 2016, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, former Senate President Keith Faber, and Speaker of the House Clifford Rosenberger formed the Ohio Joint Study Committee on Drug Use Prevention Education. The Committee examined education measures that schools and communities can take to reduce and help prevent substance use disorders. After conducting meetings and research, the Study Committee issued 15 recommendations that are outlined in the new report. The Committee concludes that Ohio schools should provide consistent, age-appropriate, evidence-based substance use disorder education for all students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Access the full report here.

In the News

Kaiser Family Foundation releases new interactive tool to compare key elements of ACA repeal and replace proposals

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) has released a new interactive tool that allows users to compare key elements of proposals to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The tool enables users to create side-by-side comparisons of major ACA alternative plans, including recent proposals from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and from Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA). With the tool, users can compare the plans’ approaches to various key areas of health policy, including individual insurance market rules, requirements and provisions for employers, benefit design, Medicaid, and Medicare.

Access the tool here.

Read Sen. Paul’s legislative proposal here, and Sen. Cassidy’s proposal here.

Humana to stop selling Obamacare health insurance plans next year

Humana, Inc. has announced that it will stop selling Obamacare health insurance plans next year. The company noted that the primary reason behind its decision is the losses caused by consumers who are sicker than Humana had expected. Humana said they expect to lose an estimated $45 million on the policies offered on the exchanges in 11 States this year.  According to an article on the topic featured in Governing magazine, “Humana’s move will probably mean that some 150,000 policy holders in 11 states where Humana sells Obamacare plans will have to switch carriers in 2018; some may be left without any alternative.” While most individuals in the U.S. won’t be significantly impacted by Humana’s decision, some counties may be left with no insurer.

Read the full Governing article here.

Article on State lawmakers who have been personally impacted by opioid crisis

An article recently published by the Associated Press highlights the impact of the opioid crisis on State legislators. The article notes that these lawmakers—who have a family member who has struggled with prescription opioid or heroin addiction, or died from an overdose—are leading legislative efforts to address opioid prevention, treatment, and overdose reversal. For example, “a Pennsylvania lawmaker whose son is a recovering heroin addict championed a State law that expanded availability of an antidote that can reverse an overdose.” The article lists several governors who have been personally impacted by addiction as well.

Read the article here.

New study finds that costs associated with alcoholic liver disease are higher than other alcohol-related conditions

A recent study published in Addiction found that hospital costs for patients with alcoholic liver disease were on average $3,200 higher than for patients admitted for alcohol-related conditions that did not involve the liver. The paper, titled “Identifying Inpatient Costs Attributable to the Clinical Sequelae and Comorbidities of Alcoholic Liver Disease in a National Hospital Database,” found that alcoholic liver disease hospital stays averaged $13,543 compared with $10,355 for other alcohol-related disorders. Researchers used data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project to examine more than 350,000 hospital stays throughout the United States.

Access the article here.

Upcoming Events

SAMHSA webinar on the impact of significant others on women’s recovery

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is hosting a webinar on the impact that significant others have on women’s recovery substance use and mental health issues. The webinar will explore the impact of addiction and mental health disorders on significant relationships; interventions that support positive outcomes for women, their partners, and their families; and considerations in service planning. The webinar will be held on Thursday, March 9th from 2:00 – 3:30pm EST.

Register for the webinar here.

Should you have any questions, or require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact Robert Morrison, Executive Director, or Shalini Wickramatilake-Templeman, Federal Affairs Manager, at (202) 293-0090.