June 16, 2017

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June 16, 2017

June 16, 2017 

United States Congress

Stalemate: FY18 spending bills continue to languish as both House and Senate budget committees continue to work toward a spending limit for FY18. With the White House and some congressional leaders now indicating an interest in raising the spending caps negotiations will need to work toward what that raise would be. Appropriations leaders are growing restless and any action to move separate bills without agreement to an overall spending cap, based on the current law of the Bipartisan Budget Act or some other negotiated amount, could cause problems for any remaining appropriations bills. Early agreement on amounts for individual spending bills could require reductions in later bills.

Administration

NIH rethinks GSI: Attempts to rebalance the research workforce and ensure efficient and effective use of federal funding continues to be a focus of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Back in May, NIH considered an approach that would provide another metric, the Grant Support Index (GSI), to broaden awards across researchers with meritorious proposals. Since May, NIH has received comments from the biomedical research community asking that the GSI not be implemented. This week, the NIH announced that they would not pursue the GSI and would implement a larger, bolder plan, the Next Generation Researchers, to improve grant success for early and mid-career biomedical researchers.

Collins to remain: Dr. Francis Collins will remain Director of the National Institutes of Health. The administration announced Dr. Collins continuation in an announcement on June 6th . Earlier this week Dr. Norman Sharpless was named the new Director of the National Cancer Institute, replacing Dr. Harold Varmus who is stepping down from that position.

HHS seeks your comments: What are your thoughts about the ways healthcare delivery and insurance could be improved in the United States? The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is seeking your comments. In a Federal Register notice published on June 12, Secretary Price sets out a series of issues on which HHS seeks your thoughts:

  1. Empowering patients and promoting consumer choice. What activities would best inform consumers and help them choose a plan that best meets their needs? Which regulations currently reduce consumer choices of how to finance their health care and health insurance needs? Choice includes the freedom to choose how to finance one's healthcare, which insurer to use, and which provider to use.
  2. Stabilizing the individual, small group, and non-traditional health insurance markets. What changes would bring stability to the risk pool, promote continuous coverage, increase the number of younger and healthier consumers purchasing plans, reduce uncertainty and volatility, and encourage uninsured individuals to buy coverage?
  3. Enhancing affordability. What steps can HHS take to enhance the affordability of coverage for individual consumers and small businesses?
  4. Affirming the traditional regulatory authority of the States in regulating the business of health insurance. Which HHS regulations or policies have impeded or unnecessarily interfered with States' primary role in regulating the health insurance markets they know best?

The notice includes information about to whom and where to send your comments, prior to July 12, 2017.

AACP joins amicus brief: Due to the actual and potential impact on higher education of the President’s executive order regarding immigration, AACP joined the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and a number of other signatories in an amicus brief to the Supreme Court. Since lower courts continue to stay the actions of the executive order, the Administration is certain to continue its appeal to the US Supreme Court. This brief will be part of the information that Justices will review in preparation of their decision.

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Founded in 1900, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) is a national organization representing the interests of pharmacy education and educators. Comprising all accredited colleges and schools of pharmacy including more than 6,400 faculty, 57,000 students enrolled in professional programs and 5,700 individuals pursuing graduate study, AACP is committed to excellence in pharmacy education.

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