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ML Strategies Health Care Preview Week of June 18th

Welcome to the third week of this four week stretch. This week, the House will continue to vote on a number of proposals to address the opioid crisis. Last week the House passed over 30 bills on opioids, most of which were non-controversial and reached bipartisan support. However, the bills considered this week are expected to have spending tied to it and could be more controversial.

On the Senate side, CREATES and the Preventing Drug Diversion Act of 2018 moved out of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. This advancement puts both pieces in play to be tied to opioids come July. We could likely see the House combine all passed opioid bills into a package and send it to the Senate. The Senate could then add CREATES and the Preventing Drug Diversion Act of 2018, and potentially measures addressing the doughnut hole to the final opioid package. And this could all get done before August. We watch for signals this week to predict how it all plays out.

Also looking at the opioid is the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC). MACPAC released their June Report to Congress, which includes recommendations to CFR 42 Part 2 and a chapter relating to the Medicaid IMD exclusion.


Last Friday, a federal court heard arguments regarding Kentucky’s Section 1115 waiver which includes Medicaid work requirement for certain populations. The lawsuit was filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Kentucky Equal Justice Center filed on behalf of 16 Kentucky Medicaid enrollees.

The outcome will affect the other states that have approved and pending work requirement provisions. If the court finds the work requirement unlawful Arkansas, Indiana, and New Hampshire (also with approved work requirement 1115 waiver provisions) may not be able to implement the provision. However, the ruling might have implications beyond work requirements. For example, Virginia recently approved a Medicaid expansion; however, that Medicaid expansion was tied to a work requirement for the expansion population. How a ruling will effect a state like Virginia is noteworthy. The ruling is expected by the end of the month.

Arkansas, Indiana, and New Hampshire have approved work requirement provisions, while seven other states have pending 1115 applications with work requirement provisions. (Our summaries of these provisions can be found here.)


On Wednesday (6/20), the House Energy and Commerce will hold a hearing titled, “Examination of the GAO Audit Series of HHS Cybersecurity.” Click here for more information.


On Tuesday (6/19), the Senate HELP Committee will hold a hearing titled, “Effective Administration of the 340B Drug Pricing Program.” Click here for more information.

On Wednesday (6/20), the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing titled, “Medicaid Fraud and Overpayments: Problems and Solutions.” Click here for more information.

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About this Author

Katie Weider, Mintz Levin Law Firm, New York, Health Care Policy Director
Director of Health Policy

Katie provides advice and guidance on issues relating to Medicaid, Medicare, and the Marketplace.

Prior to joining ML Strategies, Katie was a senior analyst with the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC), a nonpartisan agency that provides Congress, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and states with analysis and recommendations on issues affecting Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). There Katie researched, developed, and prepared Medicaid policy recommendations;...

Rodney L. Whitlock, Mintz Levin, ML Startegies, Health Policy Advisor, Washington DC
ML Strategies - Vice President

Rodney is a veteran health care policy professional with more than 20 years of experience working with the US Congress, where he served as health policy advisor and as Acting Health Policy Director for Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa and, earlier, on the staff of former US Representative Charlie Norwood of Georgia.

During his years with Representative Norwood, Rodney managed the Patients’ Bill of Rights, which passed the House in 1999 and 2001. In February 2005, Rodney left the office of Congressman Norwood to join the Finance Committee Staff as a health policy advisor to Chairman Grassley.  In that capacity, he was lead Senate staffer for the Medicaid provisions of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 and the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006.  

Manager of Government Relations

Prior to joining ML Strategies, Eli was a legislative correspondent for US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM), where his experience included health care, education, child welfare, social security, food assistance, and poverty issues specifically as they relate to the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, and Social Security. Previously, Eli served as a legislative intern with Senator Heinrich. He also served as a legislative intern with Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), where he worked on issues related to education, health, and commerce. Eli has also served as an intern at a political...