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Healthcare Today - March 15, 2024


Biden Administration Releases FY2025 Funding Request: On Monday, the Biden Administration released its FY 2025 budget request, highlighted by higher tax provisions to pay for greater Medicare and Medicaid coverage. The budget asks for $130.7 billion in discretionary spending for the Department of Health and Human Services, a $2.2 billion increase from 2023 enacted levels. It also proposes:  

Secretary Becerra Testifies on 2025 HHS Budget Request: On Thursday, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra testified before the Senate Finance Committee to defend HHS’ FY2025 budget request. Sec. Becerra stated his support for more HHS funding to implement President Biden’s proposed programs, but Senators from both parties pressed him on the Change Healthcare cyberattack response, CMS’ policy for serving rural communities, new nursing home requirements, and the lack of PBM reform provisions in the budget request.  

Senators Wyden and Crapo Reignite Congressional PBM Reform Action: Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) renewed their call for passage of bipartisan PBM reform legislation this week. Sens. Wyden and Crapo held a joint press conference on Thursday morning, with Sen. Wyden saying he’d work “around the clock to get this done.” Additionally, the duo sent their Finance Committee members a letter urging them to press for the Committee-passed package.  

House Health Subcommittee Holds Legislative Markup: On Wednesday, the House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee held a legislative markup on several health program reauthorization bills, all of which passed for full Committee consideration. Legislators unanimously passed the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer's Reauthorization Act, SIREN Reauthorization Act, and Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act. Democrats expressed opposition to only two bills, the Seniors’ Access to Critical Medications Act and Kidney PATIENT Act.  

Administration Manages UnitedHealth Data Breach: On Tuesday, the White House met with UnitedHealth Group CEO Andrew Witty and others in the industry to discuss the hack at the company’s claim processing unit Change Healthcare. Officials from the U.S. Department of Labor and HHS asked UnitedHealth to expedite payments to healthcare providers in a letter Sunday, and HHS’ Office for Civil Rights announced a probe on whether the breach accessed protected health data and if the company followed U.S. health privacy law.  

House Ways and Means Holds Hearing on At-Home Healthcare: On Tuesday, the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on access to care at home, focusing on potential policy changes to consider if reauthorizing the Hospital At-Home program. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) voiced support for his Preserving Access to Home Infusions Act; Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) spoke to his Medicare Home Health Accessibility Act. Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) discussed his concerns with greater telehealth adoption, as he believes it could lead to worsened outcomes without in-clinic visits.  

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