Congress has passed a continuing resolution (CR) that keeps the government running through Dec. 9.
Although negotiations on the CR stalled after both Democrats and Republicans fought on several controversial policy riders, the bill passed by substantial margins in both chambers. After passing the CR, Congress adjourned for a recess that runs through the November elections. Lawmakers are expected to return to Washington the week of Nov. 14.
Meanwhile, 179 House members signed a letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt and Deputy Administrator for Innovation and Quality Patrick Conway urging them to stop mandatory Medicare payment and service delivery demonstrations, such as one to bundle payments for hip and knee replacements.
The letter expressed concern that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) has exceeded its authority in creating and mandating these models and has failed to engage stakeholders in the process. America’s Essential Hospitals has repeatedly expressed opposition to the establishment of mandatory demonstrations.
In other news, Reps. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) and Peter Welch (D-VT) introduced the Closing Loopholes for Orphan Drugs Act (H.R. 6174), which would limit the orphan drug exclusion for rural and cancer hospitals participating in the 340B Drug Pricing Program. Specifically, it would allow critical access hospitals, sole community providers, rural referral centers, and free-standing cancer hospitals to purchase orphan drugs through the 340B program only if they are not used for conditions identified in the drug’s orphan status designation. America’s Essential Hospitals supports this legislation.