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On the Hill: Medicaid Oversight Letter, Reconciliation, FDA Hearings

As Congress returns to work this week from the Veteran’s Day recess, Senate Republicans consider when to bring a budget reconciliation bill to the floor and whether to include in it a provision to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Medicaid expansion. A House-passed reconciliation bill included provisions to repeal portions of the ACA and block taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood for one year, but did not seek to repeal Medicaid expansion.

In other Hill news, Senate Committee on Finance Chair Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and ranking member Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent a letter Nov. 13 to America’s Essential Hospitals and other stakeholders that solicits comment on how to improve transparency, quality, and accountability in Medicaid. Specifically, the committee seeks input on ways to streamline Medicaid state reporting requirements and on other quality, spending, and payment aspects of the program.

Other recent committee activity of interest included a Nov. 17 Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions hearing on the nomination of Robert Califf to serve as U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner. Also on Nov. 17, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing on “Examining the Regulation of Diagnostic Tests and Laboratory Operations” after the FDA announced it would issue draft guidance on the review and oversight of laboratory developed tests; and the Senate Finance Committee heard testimony on the impact of physician-owned distributorships that allow physicians to sell medical devices they prescribe to patients.

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About the Author

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