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CCTS Newsletter | November 5, 2018

Monday, November 5, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Andres Bachelet
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Dale Dirks and Dane Christiansen

November 5, 2018


On Capitol Hill, the November mid-term election has been the sole focus of policymakers for the past few weeks. The balance of power for the 116th Congress, which will convene next year, and the legislative agenda for the end of the year “lame duck” session are both dependent on the results of the November 6th vote.


The primary issue left to be resolved before the current (115th) Congress adjourns in December is how to handle the seven unfinished appropriations bills, which include divisive issues such as boarder wall funding and environmental programs. The seven unfinished bills for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 are operating on a level-funding Continuing Resolution (CR) until December 7th. There will likely be much negotiating over the coming weeks in an effort to find compromise and advance final spending measures with the wild card being the White House and its willingness to insist on stated priorities.  


Fortunately, the FY 2019 spending bills that include support for the full spectrum of medical research as well as research training and career development activities (VA, DoD, and HHS) have already been enacted ahead of the October 1st start of the fiscal year. These measures also included notable additional funding for key agencies and programs, including CTSAs, IDeA, and CAN, that will continue the trend of recent federal investment in this area. 


For the first time in a number of election cycles, healthcare has taken a less prominent role on the policy agenda. With Member of Congress from both parties vowing support for pre-existing conditions and core patient protections, there has been minimal legislative activity in the arena of seismic changes to the healthcare system. Rather, the administration has taken the lead on a variety of coverage and drug pricing issues with an initial approach of shopping around an array of proposals to see what might have traction.