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On the Hill: Burwell Confirmed, VA Care, House Hearings on Subsidies, New Drugs, and Health Care Access

Last week, the Senate confirmed Sylvia Mathews Burwell to be the new secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Burwell had a smooth confirmation process, with the Senate voting in her favor 78-17.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), chair of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) are working on legislation to address delays in care at Veterans Administration (VA) medical centers. The VA has been under fire for the past several weeks after it was revealed that many veterans experience substantial delays in accessing care and that some VA employees sought to hide these delays. The bill is expected to move quickly to the Senate floor.

Today, the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing regarding the government’s ability to verify income and insurance with regard to premium tax credits available under the Affordable Care Act.  The hearing was held in response to the No Subsidies Without Verification Act, which was introduced by Rep. Diane Black (R-TN). It passed the House last fall as part of the continuing budget resolution but was taken out by the Senate.

The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee will hold a second hearing on economic incentives to encourage research and development of new drugs and medical devices on Wednesday, and on Thursday the subcommittee will hold a hearing titled, The President’s Health Care Law Does Not Equal Health Care Access.

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About the Author

Walsh is the senior manager of legislative affairs for America's Essential Hospitals.

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