✌🏼out to my third semester of medical school & the 2019 Congressional session.
Not to worry, both will be back in full force in January!
Before I head for my vacation in the Conch Republic, I want to drop a basic civics lesson.
The basic of all basics – Congress refers to our bicameral (two chamber) legislature, made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate. It is one of three branches of government. It writes the laws and controls the money.
The end of the year bipartisan spending deal will allocate $1.4 trillion in federal funding for the remainder of the fiscal year (through Sept. 30) and avoid a shutdown. The House has already passed the deal and the Senate is poised to do the same by tomorrow.
So what health priorities made the cut for this deal?
Congress will send a $1.4 trillion spending deal to the President this week. It will fund the government and avert an end-of-the-year shutdown. The House has already passed the deal and the Senate will take it up by the end of the week. The government is currently operating under a continuing resolution that expires Dec. 20.
Read about the health-related specifics of what’s included in the deal here. But first let’s start with some key concepts related to Congress’ power of the purse.
Health care is such a massive topic that it takes more than one Congressional committee to handle all the health-related legislation. It’s important to know which committee a bill will be referred to for any advocacy work! Speaking with committee members should be a priority.
Once a bill is introduced in the House or the Senate, it is referred to the committee with jurisdiction over the topic or program addressed in the bill. Committees then refer it to the appropriate subcommittee and conduct an evaluation of the proposed legislation. Let’s take a look at what is under the jurisdiction of the major health care committees on both sides of Capitol Hill.
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I was in D.C. this weekend and had a bit of a lucky day on Friday on Capitol Hill. I’ll be back soon to share more about the conference I attended and some of my D.C. faves, but today it’s all about super(s)heros — real and fictional.
I was in D.C. for the American Medical Association Medical Student Advocacy Conference (MARC). I made new friends from medical schools around the country, learned about important issues facing patients and healthcare providers, and met with Members of Congress and their staff to discuss pharmaceutical drug pricing, graduate medical education, and gun violence prevention.
We are in a time when physicians are increasingly speaking the language of health policy and public health — “value-based care,” “co-payment,” “social determinants of health,” “accountable care organization” — and are increasingly asked by patients to ensure that a particular treatment or procedure is covered by their insurance before moving forward. This dizzying list of health policy terms (and the responsibility of a physician to understand the lingo) just keeps growing. And there is no better time to introduce students to this world than in medical school, when they are primed for learning and not yet overwhelmed with patient care.