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CCTS Newsletter | September 6, 2019

Tuesday, September 10, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kimberly Durante
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Dale Dirks and Dane Christiansen

September 6, 2019


As Congress returns from the August congressional recess, legislators face a robust agenda of critical and timely items. Most notably, the Senate has begun the process of marking up its Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 spending bills. The Senate action follows an overarching budget agreement that set low spending caps, with particularly modest allocations for health and education programs.

The House previously approved nearly all of its FY 2020 spending measures, including its Labor-HHS-Education bill. The House bill is particularly generous to medical research, education, and public health programs. However, it now appears the House will be negotiating with the Senate on final funding levels. While the National Institutes of Health will likely receive a notable increase in any final spending measure due to its high-levels of support in both chambers, the House and Senate will need to come to terms over the size of increases for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and related programs. Moreover, Congress is not expected to finalize any spending bills before the October 1st start of the fiscal year, which means lawmakers and the White House will need to enact a continuing resolution (or CR) to keep the government operating.

As the appropriations committees consider spending bills, the House and Senate‚Äôs authorizing committees continues to work on comprehensive health reform packages. While these proposals are often branded as drug pricing measures, they include a variety of reforms and proposals. Most notably, the House is considering options to reauthorize the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). Given the truncated timeline and a lack of Senate interest though, the task of reauthorizing PCORI before it starts its mandated wind-up process on October 1st is difficult, to say the least. Community advocates continue to aggressively push for a timely PCORI reauthorization, but remain cognizant of the fact that final corrective action may not occur until closer to the end of the calendar year.