House Ways and Means Committee: “The Disproportionate Impact of COVID-19 on Communities of Color”
Wednesday, May 27, 2020: The House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting American communities of color. Find more details on the hearing here.

Why this is important: Specific data on coronavirus infection rates remains incomplete, yet data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last month showed that African Americans make up approximately 30 percent of cases, despite representing 13 percent of the U.S. population.


House Energy and Commerce: Letter to Trump Administration on COVID-19 Vaccine Plan
On May 21, the House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and ranking member Greg Walden (R-OR), and oversight subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO) and ranking member Brett Guthrie (R-KY) sent a letter to the Trump administration regarding a need for a national COVID-19 vaccine plan. The plan should lay out how the federal government will scale manufacturing of potential vaccines, prioritize and allocate vaccines to at-risk populations, ensure all Americans can afford a vaccine regardless of insurance coverage and conduct public education and outreach. The letter was addressed to the White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Deborah Birx and requested a briefing on the White House’s Operation Warp Speed, which aims to speed vaccine clinical trials. Find the letter here.


Senate Democrats Urge HHS to Protect ACA’s Anti-Discrimination Provisions in Midst of COVID-19 Pandemic
On May 22, thirty-one Senate Democrats led by Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Patty Murray (D-WA) sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) asking for the withdrawal of a proposal to roll back the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) nondiscrimination provisions. The senators argue that the consumer protections are particularly critical to vulnerable communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has been reviewing the final version of the rule since April 23 and it could be released shortly, although HHS has at least 10 meetings scheduled with stakeholders on the rule through June 9, according to OMB. Follow the rule at OMB here. Find the letter here.

Read more on healthcare policy in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Washington Healthcare Update.