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CCTS Newsletter | February 15, 2019

Friday, February 15, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Andres Bachelet
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Dale Dirks and Dane Christiansen

February 15, 2019

 

Just ahead of the February 15th deadline to enact an agreement to finalize the seven outstanding Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 appropriations bills or risk another government shutdown, the president signed an agreement hammered out by Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress. There was a great deal of uncertainty until the very end with the White House visibly upset by a congressional agreement that ultimately included fewer resources for boarder security than the previously rejected proposal, which caused the month-long partial government shutdown.

 

While nearly every part of the public health services has been continuously operating due to the fact the FY 2019 Labor-Health and Human Services-Education Appropriations bill was one of the five spending bills enacted last fall, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is part of the Agriculture spending bill and was caught up in the partial government shutdown. The aforementioned final funding measure for the outstanding spending bills includes a roughly $250 million increase for FDA. This increase continues the pattern of notable funding increases for various medical research and public health agencies, with the largest annual increases going to the National Institutes of Health.

 

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers have announced the membership of all congressional committees, and the healthcare committees have begun there hearings on key issues. Based on early committee activity, the current legislative agenda in the House and Senate is focused on care for pre-existing conditions and the Affordable Care Act, addressing prices increases associated prescription drugs, and further reviewing pain management practices and the opioid epidemic. An issue that the community is now looking to engage policymakers on is the reauthorization of the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), which is legislatively designed to sunset at the end of FY 2019. Research and patient advocates will be working to raise awareness of this issue and ensure that Congress reauthorizes PCORI later this year so that ongoing and emerging research projects can continue to move forward.