With the end of the fiscal year just two weeks away, congressional negotiators seem likely to package a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government and funding to fight the Zika outbreak into a single bill.
The Senate appears most likely to make the first move. While details are still being finalized, the CR likely will last through early December and include funding to combat Zika. The largest roadblock to passage focuses on whether the bill should explicitly ban Planned Parenthood clinics from receiving Zika funding, a policy rider that Democrats so far have shot down. While both sides appear committed to their positions, a compromise — punting to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to decide which providers can access funding — is possible. The Senate could act on the bill as early as next week.
While both chambers are scheduled to remain in session until the first week of October, they likely will recess as soon as the CR is passed.
In committee business, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee marked up five health care bills on Sept. 12 and 13:
- H.R. 4365, Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act of 2016
- H.R. 1192, National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission Act
- H.R. 1209, Improving Access to Maternity Care Act
- H.R. 1877, Mental Health First Aid
- H.R. 2713, Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2015
On Sept. 14, the committee’s Health and Oversight subcommittees are slated to hold a joint hearing on implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The hearing will feature Andy Slavitt, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office.
The House Ways and Means Committee Health Subcommittee also will hold a hearing on Sept. 14 titled, “Exploring the Use of Technology and Innovation to Create Efficiencies and Higher Quality in Health Care.”