House lawmakers return from recess this week with a new deadline to pass bipartisan opioid legislation.
Representatives previously aimed to pass an opioid package by Memorial Day, but they now hope to do so before the July Fourth recess.
Before the Memorial Day recess, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce advanced 57 opioid-related bills to the House floor that aim to improve prevention and public health efforts, change law enforcement response, and improve coverage and payment issues within Medicaid and Medicare. The House Committee on Ways and Means also advanced seven bills to change Medicare coverage in response to the opioid epidemic and improve how the U.S. Postal Service monitors incoming packages for opioids.
In the Senate, the HELP Committee marked up the Opioids Crisis Response Act of 2018, and the Committee on Finance released its 22-bill package to change Medicare and Medicaid payment policies to address the crisis.
Committee Hearing on PAHPA
Meanwhile, the Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a June 6 hearing on the reauthorization of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA).
The hearing comes after the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) cleared its own PAHPA reauthorization bill for consideration on the Senate floor. The Senate version includes $385 million annually from fiscal years 2019 to 2023 for the Hospital Preparedness Program.
The HELP Committee held two hearings in January on reauthorizing the law, and it subsequently released a discussion draft. In response, the association sent a letter outlining the unique role essential hospitals play as first responders and facilities well-positioned for a coordinated regional response to public health threats and emergencies.
Other Committee Action
In other news, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a June 6 hearing on the policies and priorities of the Department of Health and Human Services.
The House Committee on Ways and Means will hold a June 6 hearing on lowering costs and expanding access to health care through consumer-directed health plans.
The Senate HELP Committee will hold a June 12 hearing on the president’s American Patients First blueprint to lower prescription drug prices.