This Week in Washington: Waiting for the election results from Georgia Senate race; mental health legislation continues to be discussed and CBO publishes option book



House Rules Committee Meets to Determine Rule for House Consideration of the Jackie Wolerski Maternal and Child Home Visiting Reauthorization Act of 2022

On Nov. 29, the House Rules Committee met to determine the rule by which the Jackie Walorski Maternal and Child Home Visiting Reauthorization Act of 2022 will be considered on the House floor. The legislation reauthorizes MIECHV for five years, increasing the annual funding level to $800 million in 2027 and providing increased investment in home visiting in every state and territory. It also updates program policies to provide an even stronger focus on improving outcomes for families and to provide clarity and stability for successful state and territorial programs.


Senate Finance Committee Looks at Medicare Advantage and Medicaid Managed Care “Ghost Networks”

On Dec.1, the Senate Finance Committee released its fifth and final mental health discussion draft. The draft would eliminate “ghost networks” by requiring Medicare Advantage (MA) plans and Medicaid managed care organizations to regularly update their provider directories. The draft legislation would also require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to compare Medicaid payments for behavioral health services with reimbursement for medical or surgical services, as well as compare MA mental and physical health benefits. Additionally, the bill would require MA plans to update a provider’s status in the insurer’s directory within two days and have the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) collect those directories to post on a public website.

For more information, click here.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) Introduces Bill to Increase Competition in Biological Drug Market

On Nov. 17, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced the Biosimilar Red Tape Elimination Act to increase competition in the biological drug market. The bill would prohibit the FDA from requiring biosimilars to undergo switching studies to receive an “interchangeable” designation.

Unlike generic drugs, many states will not allow pharmacists to substitute a biosimilar unless the FDA declares it to be “interchangeable.” The legislation would allow pharmacists to substitute biosimilars in lieu of the branded version.

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