Health Update (March 23)
Earlier this week, President Trump signed HR 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, (Phase II of efforts to combat the Coronavirus), into law.
A link to a section-by-section summary of HR 6201 can be found here.
Stage 3 Stimulus Plan
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) Thursday night (Mar. 19), and aims to have the legislation agreed to in principle by Friday night (Mar. 20) and passed by Monday (Mar. 23). It is unclear how the House will react and how long an agreement might take.
The CARES Act includes noteworthy healthcare provisions such as:
● Providing CMS with more flexibility on telehealth and expanding telehealth access for Medicare beneficiaries.
● Temporarily lifting the Medicare sequester, which reduces payments to providers by 2 percent, from May 1 through December 31, 2020, boosting payments for hospital, physician, nursing home, home health, and other care. The Medicare sequester would be extended by one-year beyond current law to provide immediate relief without worsening Medicare’s long-term financial outlook.
● Increasing the payment that would otherwise be made to a hospital for treating a patient admitted with COVID-19 by 15 percent. It would build on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) decision to expedite use of a COVID-19 diagnosis to enable better surveillance as well as trigger appropriate payment for these complex patients. This add-on payment would be available through the duration of the COVID-19 emergency period.
A link to the full text of the legislation can be found here.
A section-by-section summary of the legislation can be found here.
A section-by-section summary of Senate HELP Committee provisions can be found here.
A section-by-section summary of Senate Finance Committee provisions can be found here.
“Buy American” Executive Order
Outside of the news surrounding the Coronavirus, the administration is continuing to work on an Executive Order brought forward by Trump Advisor Peter Navarro that aims to reduce United States dependency on foreign pharmaceutical manufacturers.
The Executive Order looks to streamline regulatory approvals for “American-made” products and looks to impose similar FDA restrictions on U.S. facilities as those abroad. It will also encourage the U.S. government, including the Department of Defense, Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Veterans Affairs, to only buy American-made medical products.
 Hirsch, Lauren. “Trump advisor Peter Navarro slams Big Pharma’s lobbying against possible ‘Buy America’ executive order.” CNBC. 19 Mar. 2020. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/19/coronavirus-trump-aide-peter-navarro-slams-big-pharma.html