Policy Updates: Hill Happenings and Administration Activities

By Mike Weir August 27, 2018

Hill Happenings

2019 Appropriations

The Senate passed the FY2019 Defense and Labor-Health and Human Services (LHHS) funding package by a 85-7 vote. The House has not passed its FY19 LHHS appropriations bill. The current fiscal year ends on September 30th. NASTAD will continue to monitor the appropriations process and advocate for the highest funding levelson behalf of HIV and hepatitis programs. 

Before passage of the bill,Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) highlighted his support and efforts “to secure $5 million for a brand new Centers for Disease Control [and Prevention] initiative to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis B and C, which are a consequence of the opioid epidemic.” 

Opioids Package

Majority Leader McConnell told reporters that a bipartisan opioids package will be a top priority after Labor Day. “A new draft of the final package authorizes $500 million per year through 2021 for state opioid grants created under the 21st Century Cures Act. It also includes the STOP Act, a provision [that] requires the U.S. Postal Service to crack down on shipments of fentanyl and other illicit drugs through the mail. The package also reauthorizes ONDCP [Office of National Drug Control Policy].”

Prioritizing Cures

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing titled, "Prioritizing Cures: Science and Stewardship at the National Institutes of Health," where National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins testified.

Administration Activities

Overdose Deaths

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released provisional estimates for all drug overdose deaths in 2017.  The report estimates there were over 72,000 total drug overdose deaths in 2017, more than 49,000 of which were opioid related.

Affordable Care Act Stabilization Grants

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced $8.6 million in State Flexibility Grants to 30 states and the District of Columbia to help them stabilize the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges and individual insurance markets. CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement the money will continue the agency's "ongoing efforts to give states the tools and flexibility" needed to stabilize the ACA markets.

2018 National Ryan White Conference on HIV Care & Treatment

The 2018 Ryan White Conference on HIV Care & Treatment will be held December 11-14, 2018 in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Late registration for the conference is open until September 28, 2018. 

Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) 2018 Clinical Conference

The RWHAP Clinical Conference will be held on December 9-11 in Oxon Hill, Maryland. The conference is open to any RWHAP-funded clinical prescriber--Parts A-F.  Registration for the Clinical Conference is now available.

2019 National HIV Prevention Conference

The 2019 National HIV Prevention Conference (NHPC) will be held March 18-21, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. Check out the updated website for more information about tracks and to view the tentative conference schedule. 


As part of NASTAD’s partnership with the CDC’s DASH Initiative, a newsletterwill be released every other month detailing any updates, information, and resources related to the initiative.August’s newsletter communicates strategies and resources for effective parent engagement. The blog provides insight on the positive effects on students when parents connect with schools and invest in the learning and development of youth. The newsletter also includes resources for teachers, parents, families, and school administrators. Lastly, included is upcoming conferences, workshops, and webinars.

NASTAD released an issue brief on Behavioral Health Integration Within the HIV Continuum of Care.

The Center for HIV Law and Policy (CHLP), the Harm Reduction Coalition (HRC), and the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR) released Punishment is Not a Public Health Strategy: The Criminalization of Viral Hepatitis in the United States--a fact sheet on viral hepatitis criminalization laws throughout the country.

The National Health Law Program has released an updated Advocate's Guide to MAGI that addresses changes to Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) under the tax plan enacted in 2017, as well as recently passed legislation affecting MAGI-based calculations.

How Medicaid Work Requirements Will Harm Rural Residents – And Communities

Trends in Human Papillomavirus–Associated Cancers — United States, 1999–2015

Occupational Patterns in Unintentional and Undetermined Drug-Involved and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths — United States, 2007–2012

Preventing Occupational Exposure [Fentanyl] to Healthcare Personnel in Hospital and Clinic Settings

News Bulletin

The Secret to Keeping Black Men Healthy? Maybe Black Doctors

“In the study, black men seeing black male doctors were much more likely to agree to certain preventive measures than were black men seeing doctors who were white or Asian. Although 13 percent of the population is black in the United States, just 4 percent of doctors are black.”

Religious Conservatives’ Ties To Trump Officials Pay Off In AIDS Policies, Funding

“Evangelical activist Shepherd Smith has spent more than three decades cultivating relationships with leading AIDS researchers and policymakers to promote abstinence-only sex education. Those connections now could influence government programs and funding within the Trump administration.”

NIH officials: closing treatment gaps critical to ending the U.S. HIV epidemic

“Daily antiretroviral therapy (ART) that suppresses HIV to levels undetectable by standard blood tests is lifesaving for individuals living with HIV and prevents sexual transmission of the virus to others. The public health community must use targeted interventions, however, to do a better job of reaching populations with low levels of viral suppression, according to experts from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.”

Untreated genital warts may increase risk of HIV transmission

“They found that, compared to normal tissue from the same patient, anogenital warts had a significantly higher density of HIV-target cells. Of the anogenital wart samples studied, approximately half had high concentrations of these cells in the outermost layer of skin (the one most likely to be contacted during sexual intercourse). In addition, of the eight samples cultured with HIV, two showed definitive signs of HIV infection, signifying that some anogenital warts may be highly susceptible to HIV infection.”

HPV-related cancer rates are rising. So are vaccine rates — just not fast enough

“Cancers linked to the human papillomavirus have increased significantly over the last 15 years in the United States, with throat cancer now the most common HPV-related malignancy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday. More than 43,000 people developed an HPV-associated cancer in 2015, compared to about 30,000 in 1999, the CDC said. At the same time, the CDC said, HPV vaccination rates are rising -- a trend that could eventually curb the increase in cancer cases. Nearly half of adolescents aged 13 to 17 in 2017 had received all the recommended doses for HPV vaccination, while two thirds had received the first dose. For both groups, that was a five-percentage-point increase from the previous year.”