Policy Updates: Hill Happenings and Administration Activities

By Garrett Eberhardt December 2, 2019

Hill Happenings

Senate HELP Committee Sets Date for FDA Commissioner Confirmation Vote

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) will vote on the nomination of oncologist Stephen Hahn to FDA Commissioner tomorrow. Hahn already has the endorsement of committee chair Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and received general support for his nomination from committee members during a hearing in November, despite tough questions regarding the administration’s stance on e-cigarettes.

Administration Activities

Trump Administration’s Health Insurance Mandate for Immigrants Blocked in Federal Court

Following a temporary restraining order against the policy earlier in the month, a federal judge in Oregon formally ruled late last week to block the Department of State from enforcing a policy that denied visas to immigrants unless they demonstrated an ability to purchase health insurance within 30 days of entering the country or cover their medical costs through some other means. U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon stated that the requirement, which was unveiled in October, effectively barred poor people from entering the country and thus clearly infringed on the law. The administration is expected to appeal the decision.

NIH Commemorates World AIDS Day

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) commemorated World AIDS Day with a statement touting the launch of Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America and the role it will play in conducting research that will lead toward ending the epidemic. NIH highlighted its work in developing antiretroviral drug regimens such as PrEP and PEP, leading to scientific breakthroughs achieving and maintaining durably undetectable levels of virus, or undetectable = untransmittable. The agency also restated its goal of developing a vaccine to prevent HIV and as well as a cure for the virus and NIH-funded advances in effective HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care.

Federal Agencies Highlight Ending the Epidemic for World AIDS Day

Deborah Birx, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator & U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy at the Department of State and Brett P. Giroir, M.D., ADM, Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services released a joint statement last week highlighting the federal government’s theme for World AIDS Day 2019, Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Community by Community. The statement emphasized the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative’s focus on working with local communities to respond to epidemics through solutions like routine HIV testing, the new PrEP program that will make the medication available to individuals at risk, and the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief’s $85 billion investment in global HIV response since 2003 that has saved more than 18 million lives and provided treatment for nearly 15.7 million people.


The National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable is launching the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable Provider Advocacy Network. The Network will support clinicians nationwide allowing for real-time connections where they can share best practices and gain support for advocacy strategies. Their first training will take place on December 6th from 12pm-1pm EDT.

MMWR:  Status of HIV Case-Based Surveillance Implementation — 39 U.S. PEPFAR-Supported Countries

Job Opportunities

Senior Director of Legal and Regulatory Affairs – Baltimore

The Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) is seeking candidates for a Senior Director of Legal and Regulatory Affairs position. The position will serve as general counsel and principal legal advisor to BCHD's senior leadership team and will provide support throughout the agency on a wide range of legal matters including health law and regulatory compliance, health-related transactional matters, risk assessment, and affirmative litigation efforts with the City's Law Department.

Director of Policy – Illinois

The AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) is seeking a Director of Policy with content expertise to stay abreast of critical healthcare delivery systems including Medicaid, Housing, Ryan White, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and influence health policy. The position will serve as the lead for policy development and work on identifying and resolving policy-related issues across the agency with other departments.

Director of Government Relations – Illinois

The AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) is seeking a Director of Government Relations to develop and manage AFC’s federal, state and local government relations activities. The position will be the point person for HIV-related state legislative matters regarding appropriation, health care reform, and policy issues impacting the social determinants of health and health disparities.

HIV Transitional Specialist – Washington State

The Department of Corrections’ Health Services Division in Washington State is hiring an HIV Transitional Specialist. The position supports the department’s vision of maintaining safe communities by providing support for and developing comprehensive release plans for people living with HIV. The position will also provide technical assistance to correctional health care staff upon initial screening or admission and prior to the release of any patient living with HIV.