Advocacy Update

February 8, 2022

In this Issue:

CAP Urges Congressional Support for the Prevent Pandemics Act

On January 24, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee released the Prepare for and Respond to Existing Viruses, Emerging New Threats, and Pandemics Act (PREVENT Pandemics Act) to strengthen the nation’s public health and medical preparedness and response systems in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CAP, along with 28 other medical and professional laboratory organizations, sent a letter to HELP Committee leadership in support of the bill on February 4. This draft bipartisan legislation would lay the groundwork to build a stronger public health and medical preparedness and response system, the CAP said.

The CAP has also supported national testing and pandemic response strategy, including increased funding for critical manufacturing supply chain resilience and health infrastructure activities to address workforce capacity, health information technology, and disease surveillance.

The pandemic highlighted the critical need for greater support and infrastructure investment in key areas of public health and preparedness. In 2021, the CAP supported increased funding for testing programs, including contact tracing and sequencing programs, as well as funding for a national strategy and providing technical assistance, guidance, and grants to state, local, and territorial public health departments.

Administration Relaunches Cancer Moonshot Initiative

The Biden Administration launched the next iteration of the Cancer Moonshot initiative on February 2 with an ambitious goal: slashing the cancer death rate in half within 25 years. The Administration relaunched the initiative after lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. The CAP supported the first Cancer Moonshot and has engaged with the Administration and Congress and its impact on pathologists.

In its release, the White House estimated that approximately missed 9.5 million because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The new Cancer Moonshot program has called for Americans to receive cancer screenings that were missed over the last two years. The program will also include efforts to expand HPV vaccinations, which help prevent cervical cancer, and the potential creation of diagnostics that can detect multiple cancers simultaneously, perhaps via an annual blood draw.

In the updated Cancer Moonshot, the Administration also set aside biomedical and health research budgets through entities like the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health. The initiative further called for expanding resources, including at-home screening, mobile units, clinical trials, and therapeutics to reach underserved communities.

A “Cancer Cabinet” will be convened by the White House, bringing together departments and agencies across government to address cancer on multiple fronts. These include the Departments of Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, Defense, Energy, Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy, among others.

New Hampshire Pathologists Advocate to Uphold State Out-of-Network Law

On February 2, the New Hampshire Society of Pathologists (NHSP), with support from the CAP, testified during a state Senate Health and Human Services Committee hearing to amend Senate Bill 287, which would align the state’s out-of-network law with the federal No Surprises Act. The NHSP and the CAP have actively worked with the New Hampshire Medical Society (NHMS) on the bill to amplify pathologists’ concerns.

Under New Hampshire’s law, the Commissioner of Insurance has exclusive jurisdiction to determine if payment for an out-of-network provider is commercially reasonable in a dispute between a health care provider and a health insurance carrier. The NHSP and the CAP successfully advocated for New Hampshire’s balance billing and network adequacy law in 2018.

The NHSP urged the committee to uphold the New Hampshire law by not utilizing the qualifying payment amount to determine commercially reasonable payment for out-of-network providers and provide greater clarity on the adoption of rules relating to price transparency so that requirements are placed on health carriers. This would alleviate administrative burdens on physicians. Additionally, the NHSP advocated to scale back the Commissioner’s rulemaking authority to enforce the No Surprises Act and defer the effective date of the legislation to a later date in light of federal litigation on the No Surprises Act.

In the coming weeks, the NHSP will continue to partner with the NHMS and other stakeholder groups to best align the New Hampshire out-of-network law with the No Surprises Act.

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