Policy Updates: Hill Happenings and Administration Activities

By Mike Weir January 28, 2019

Hill Happenings

Government Shutdown
The government shutdown ended Friday with the passage of a three-week continuing resolution (CR) without the wall funding requested by the President. The agreement will fund the affected departments and agencies through February 15, allowing negotiators time work out a deal on border security.

Although the Department of Health and Human services (HHS) is largely funded, health programs have been affected by the shutdown. Indian Health Service (IHS) programs took a hit since they receive their funding through the Department of the Interior whose full FY2019 funding bill has not been passed. As a result of the shutdown, IHS had to suspend grants that support tribal health programs, as well as preventive health clinics run by the Office of Urban Indian Health Programs. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will be working through a backlog of new drug and medical device applications.

NASTAD signed onto a letter to Members of Congress and President highlighting some of the health impacts of the shutdown.

Committee Assignments

The Senate and House Committees are continuing to announce new assignments.

Senate Appropriations Members:

Republicans: Chair Richard Shelby (AL), Mitch McConnell (KY), Lamar Alexander (TN), Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Lindsey Graham (SC), Roy Blunt (MO), Jerry Moran (KS), John Hoeven (ND), John Boozman (AR), Shelly Moore Capito (WV), John Kennedy (LA), Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS), Steve Daines (MT), Marco Rubio (FL), James Lankford (OK)

Democrats: Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (VT), Patty Murray (WA), Diane Feinstein (CA), Richard Durbin (IL), Jack Reed (RI), Jon Tester (MT), Tom Udall (NM), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Jeff Merkley (OR), Chris Coons (DE), Brian Schatz (HI), Tammy Baldwin (WI), Chris Murphy (CT), Joe Manchin (WV), Chris Van Hollen (MD)

Senate Appropriations Labor-HHS Members:

Republicans: Chair Roy Blunt (MO), Richard Shelby (AL), Lamar Alexander (TN), Lindsey Graham (SC), Jerry Moran (KS), Shelley Moore Capito (WV), John Kennedy (LA), Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS), Marco Rubio (FL), James Lankford (OK)

Democrats: Ranking Member Patty Murray (WA), Richard Durbin (IL), Jack Reed (RI), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Jeff Merkley (OR), Brian Schatz (HI), Tammy Baldwin (WI), Chris Murphy (CT), Joe Manchin (WV)

Senate HELP Committee Members:

Republicans: Chair Lamar Alexander (TN), Mike Enzi (WY), Richard Burr (NC), Johnny Isakson (GA), Rand Paul (KY), Susan Collins (ME), Bill Cassidy (LA), Pat Roberts (KS), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Tim Scott (SC), Mitt Romney (UT), Mike Braun (IN)

Democrats: Ranking Member Patty Murray (WA), Bernie Sanders (VT), Bob Casey (PA), Tammy Baldwin (WI), Chris Murphy (CT), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Tim Kaine (VA), Maggie Hassan (NH), Tina Smith (MN), Doug Jones (AL), Jacky Rosen (NV)

House Appropriations Full Committee Members:

Democrats: Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Ed Case (HI-1), Charlie Crist (FL-13), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-2), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), Norma Torres (CA-35), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12)

Republicans: Ranking Member Kay Granger (TX-12)

House Appropriations Labor-HHS Members:

Democrats: Chair Rosa DeLauro (CT-3), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Mark Pocan (WI-2), Katherine Clark (MA-5), Lois Frankel (FL-21), Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Nita M. Lowey (NY-17) - Ex Officio

Republicans: Ranking Member Tom Cole (OK-4)

House Budget Committee Members:

Democrats: Chair John Yarmuth (KY-3), Seth Moulton (MA-6), Hakeem Jeffries (NY-8), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Rosa DeLauro (CT-3), Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), David Price (NC-4), Jan Schakowsky (IL-9), Brian Higgins (NY-26), Dan Kildee (MI-5), Brendan Boyle (PA-2), Jimmy Panetta  (CA-20), Joe Morelle (NY-25), Steven Horsford (NV-4), Bobby Scott (VA-3, Sheila Jackson Lee  (TX-18), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Ilhan Omar (MN-05)

Republicans: Ranking Member Steve Womack (AR-3), Rob Woodall (GA-7), Bill Johnson (OH-6), Jason Smith (MO-8), Bill Flores (TX-17), George Holding (NC-2), Chris Stewart (UT-2), Ralph Norman (SC-5), Chip Roy (TX-21), Dan Meuser (PA-9), William Timmons (SC-4), Dan Crenshaw (TX-2), Kevin Hern (OK-1), and Tim Burchett (TN-2)

House E&C Members:

Democrats: Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE-At Large), Robin Kelly (IL-2), Ann Kuster (NH-2), Donald McEachin (VA-4), Tom O'Halleran (AZ-1), Darren Soto (FL-9), Marc Veasey (TX-33)

E&C Health Subcommittee:

Republicans: Ranking Member Michael Burgess, M.D. (TX-26), Fred Upton (MI-6), John Shimkus (IL-15), Brett Guthrie (KY-2), Morgan Griffith (VA-9), Gus Bilirakis (FL-12), Billy Long (MO-7), Larry Bucshon (IN-8), Susan Brooks (IN-5), Markwayne Mullin (OK-2), Richard Hudson (NC-8), Buddy Carter (GA-1), Greg Gianforte (MT- At Large)

The complete preliminary Senate committee rosters for the Democrats and Republicans are now available. NASTAD will be targeting new members and key Committee assignments for hill visits during our upcoming Annual Meeting in May.

Administration Activities

National HIV/AIDS Strategy and National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan Update

The HHS Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy (OHAIDP) will host two listening sessions as it begins to update the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) and National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan. 

  • Tuesday, January 29, 2019: Virtual Listening Session from 1:00–3:00 PM EST. You must register to participate. 
  • Friday, February 22, 2019: In-person Listening Session at HHS from 11:00 a.m.–1:00 PM EST in Room 800 of the Hubert H. Humphrey Building, 200 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC, 20201. RSVP by Thursday, February 14 by sending your name, title, and organization to HepHIVStrategies@hhs.gov.


Greater Than AIDS

Greater Than AIDS released a new campaign, Let’s Talk About HIV Treatment, with videos featuring young people sharing their journeys from diagnosis to getting into care and treatment to maintaining viral suppression.

MMWR: Transgender Identity and Experiences of Violence Victimization, Substance Use, Suicide Risk, and Sexual Risk Behaviors Among High School Students — 19 States and Large Urban School Districts, 2017

Job and Project Opportunities

HIV/STD Prevention Program Manager – Maine

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services is hiring for the HIV/STD Prevention Program Manager position within their Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Director, Ryan White Part B Program – Tennessee

The Tennessee Department of Health is hiring for a Ryan White Part B Director.

Cook County Health System Executive Director of HIV Services – Cook County

The Cook County Health System (CCH) is hiring an Executive Director of HIV Services.

Disease Intervention Specialist – Alaska

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services is hiring for a Disease Investigation Specialist I within their Division of Public Health, Section of Epidemiology, HIV/STD Program.

Request for Proposals: Translation Services

NASTAD has worked with the Ministry of Health in Haiti (MSPP) since 2008 on the development and implementation of their case-based surveillance system for HIV. As the system has evolved the needs for analysis and ongoing technical support have grown. NASTAD is currently seeking the services of a professional translators for translation of a protocol and study tools from English into French and Haitian Creole. The service provider shall be an individual or an institution with relevant academic qualifications and professional experience as outlined. Submissions are due by Friday, February 1, 2019 at 5 PM EST.

Upcoming Meetings

2019 National HIV Prevention Conference

The 2019 National HIV Prevention Conference (NHPC) will be held March 18-21, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. Registration is open.

2019 HIV Diagnostics Conference

The 2019 HIV Diagnostics Conference will be held in Atlanta on March 25-28, 2019. The conference will address advances in diagnostic testing, and strategies for using test technologies in public health programs and clinical practice. NASTAD encourages health department HIV, HCV, and STI testing program managers and other staff consider submitting a late breaker abstract.  Particularly encouraged are abstracts that address strategies to integrate HIV and HCV testing and linkage, and best practices to streamline time to test result receipt and linkage to care in clinical and non-clinical settings.

HIV, HCV and Syphilis Diagnostic Testing Workshop

The Association for Public Health Laboratories (APHL) will be hosting an HIV, HCV and Syphilis Diagnostic Testing workshop in conjunction with the 2019 HIV Diagnostics Conference. The workshop will be held Monday March 25, 2019 from 8am-3pm. The conference will kick off at 4pm. The educational workshop will feature short presentations highlighting the current technology and algorithms for each pathogen followed by facilitated and small-group discussions centered around case studies and real-world examples. The objectives of the workshop are two-fold: (1) to educate attendees about the technologies and challenges in diagnostic testing and (2) to encourage peer-to-peer discussions and fostering collaborations beyond the workshop. Program staff are welcome to attend.  If you will be attending the conference and would be interested in participating in the workshop, please contact APHL’s Dr. Anne Gaynor.

News Bulletin

HIV care is threatened by proposed changes to Medicare Part D

“The proposed rule would change that. While still requiring that Part D plans cover the drugs, it would allow them to impose obstacles to some drugs based on cost. Those obstacles would include requiring prior authorization, a time-intensive process that forces doctors to justify the prescriptions they write to insurance company staff who often have no expertise in treating HIV. Prior authorization is not a good idea for treating HIV, due to the potential consequences of delaying the start of treatment and possibly causing dangerous lapses in treatment.”

HIV Drug Prices Keep Rising. Why Is No One Talking About It?

“The state of the HIV epidemic in the United States is a global embarrassment. Currently, we spend more than any other country per person on domestic HIV treatment, yet by almost every metric, our epidemic is worse than that of other wealthy nations. So why the discrepancy between cost and outcome? The problems are multifactorial, including systemic racism, classism, transphobia, and homophobia. Oddly enough, however, egregious price gouging by the pharmaceutical industry has gotten almost no attention, despite its central role in hampering America's HIV response. High drug prices distort our nation's fight against AIDS, forcing the health care system to pay massive markups to pharmaceutical companies and leaving relatively little for other vital services. As a result, we continue to line the pockets of pharmaceutical executives rather than addressing the broad social and environmental barriers to effective HIV treatment and prevention.”