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CR Talks Continue Following Govt. Shutdown; CHIP Funding, Repeal Of ACA Taxes In Limbo

Lawmakers are continuing talks Saturday following the government shutdown spurred by the Senate’s midnight rejection of a House continuing resolution that would have funded the government through Feb. 16, leaving the bill’s funding for CHIP and a delay of the ACA's industry taxes in flux.

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FDA's drug center released Friday (Jan. 19) its 2018 guidance agenda, which includes new categories focused on over-the-counter (OTC) drug development and rare diseases.

Multiple House Energy & Commerce members invited FDA to ask for more authority to oversee food safety threats after they raised concerns about the HHS Office of Inspector General's findings that the agency continues to fall short in that area, but FDA made it clear that it is not seeking lawmakers' help.

CMS is at odds with the Government Accountability Office over whether plan sponsors in Medicare Part D should be required to report information to CMS about providers who over-prescribe opioids.

House Deputy Majority Whip Tom Cole (R-OK) said he doesn’t know when the House will take up the health care programs and policies collectively called the extenders that were excluded from the temporary government-funding bill that Republicans passed Thursday evening (Jan. 18), and he said Republicans didn’t fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program for a decade, despite leaving billions of dollars in savings on the table, because an extension that long smacks of an entitlement program.

Experts and advocates are concerned the recently approved Kentucky Medicaid waiver that imposes work requirements on certain beneficiaries could cause people suffering from opioid addiction to lose coverage as exemptions for medically frail adults are undefined and the waiver doesn't explain exactly how substance abuse treatment counts as an approved work activity.

The House approved the GOP leadership's one-month government funding bill, along with six years of Children's Health Insurance Program funding and a delay of the ACA's industry's taxes, Thursday evening (Jan.18), 230-197, leaving the fate of a potential government shutdown Friday to the Senate.

Just hours before the House passed the GOP-crafted short-term continuing resolution to avert a government shutdown, Democrats, led by Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA), were pushing for a vote on separate legislation that would permanently reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program, reauthorize funding for community health centers for two years, permanently repeal therapy caps for seniors in Medicare, and reauthorize the home visiting program for five years.

A majority of Senate Democrats, led by Senate Finance ranking Democrat Ron Wyden (OR), are questioning CMS’ authority to let states condition Medicaid coverage on having a job, and also say other eligibility policies including mandatory drug testing, enrollment time limits, “onerous-cost sharing,” and lock-out periods undermine the purpose of Medicaid.

Bipartisan legislation that would launch an over-the-counter (OTC) user fee program coupled with monograph reform cleared the House Energy & Commerce health subcommittee Wednesday (Jan. 17) by voice vote, despite lawmakers grappling with a provision providing two years of exclusivity to innovative OTC drugs.