A BUSY WEEK IN CONGRESS.
CHIQUITA BROOKS-LASURE CONFIRMATION. This week Chiquita Brooks-LaSure is expected to be confirmed as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The Senate Finance Committee had a divided and party line vote on her nomination on April 22nd. The party line vote was a result of CMS revoking Texas’ ten year 1115 Medicaid waiver, Texas Healthcare Transformation and Quality Improvement Program. This waiver was initially approved in the final month of the Trump Administration. In the letter, CMS stated that the state did not provide adequate a public notice and comment process or a sufficient basis for an exemption to the public notice and comment process during the COVID-19 pandemic public health emergency. Following this action Senator Cornyn (R-TX) had objected her nomination which led to other Republicans on the Finance Committee voting against her as well. Once she is in place as CMS Administrator we expect that CMS’ regulator processes will pick up pace. Additionally, we expect that leads of divisions within CMS will be named shortly after, including heads of the Center for Medicare and the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services.
BUSY WEEK OF HEARINGS. This week there are a number of healthcare related hearings in the House of Representatives and the Senate. One noteworthy hearing will be the Senate Finance Committee hearing on flexibilities relating to COVID-19. We can expect discussions on lessons learned, telehealth, and the opioid epidemic. Moreover, as the country continues to be vaccinated the debate on lifting restrictions and requirements grows, which is also likely to be raised during the hearing. There will also be a hearing on hospital consolidation, which is expected to discuss its impact on quality, costs to patients, and competition in the market.
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