74th Edition

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74th EditionJuly 26, 2019

Federal Update

Budget & Appropriations

Late yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a 2-year $2.7 trillion budget deal to suspend the debt limit through July 2021 and raise discretionary spending levels for Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021. The House will now adjourn for a 6-week August recess. The Senate will take up the package next week, and leaders anticipate it will pass and be signed by the President.

The budget deal calls for more than $320 billion in non-defense and defense spending above sequestration levels over the next two year.  A one-pager and section-by-section have been made available by the House Budget Committee. If the two parties had not struck a deal, we would have seen $126 billion in sequestration cuts in January 2020, impacting every discretionary account in the federal government.

There will be approximately $77 billion in offsets as part of the agreement, including extension of the 2 percent Medicare sequester from 2027 to 2029. Further, the agreement dictates that policy differences be put aside and prohibits the inclusion of policy riders, or so-called poison pills, in the spending bills.

The agreement outlines a process for completing the FY20 appropriations bills through a 12-bill omnibus with the goal of preventing a government shutdown. The House completed consideration of almost all of the FY20 appropriations bill earlier this summer; the only outstanding bill is the FY20 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill. It is anticipated that during the August recess, Senate Appropriations Committee staff will complete the work needed to finalize their FY20 bills. Markups have been tentatively scheduled to begin September 10. The OGCA team continues to work to advance Emory’s appropriations’ priorities. 

Drug Pricing

Congress is intent on moving drug pricing legislation. On July 25, the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act, authored by Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR), advanced out of the Senate Finance Committee by a 19-9 vote. The bill would cap what Medicare recipients pay for drugs at $3,100 a year beginning in 2022 and would cap drug costs by forcing drug companies to give rebates to Medicare if they increase their prices above inflation, among more than two dozen other provisions.

House Democrats have announced that they will release a bill on drug pricing in September. The bill is reported to focus on the most expensive drugs, primarily those that have been on the market a long time and still do not have any competition. Emory is closely monitoring both bills for opportunities as well as unintended consequences for our health system.

Emory in the Community

On June 19, summer campers from the Open Arms Developmental Agency in Lithonia visited the WaterHub at Emory University.

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