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 Legislation and Policy

AMCHP Releases Summary of Key MCH Provisions in FY20 House Funding Bill
AMCHP's government affairs team compiled a detailed summary of key maternal and child health (MCH) provisions included in the fiscal year 2020 House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) bill. As we've previously reported, the House Appropriations Committee approved the FY20 LHHS bill on May 8. Of note, the bill includes $705 million for the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant, which would be a $27.3 million increase for Title V compared to the fiscal year 2019 funding level. The full bill text, report language, and summary from the House Appropriations Committee are available on the committee's website.

As a reminder, the funding levels included in the House FY20 LHHS bill are not final; there are still several steps to go in the FY20 appropriations process. Next steps: We expect the full House of Representatives to consider this bill in June. We are also hearing rumors that the Senate Appropriations Committee may begin its work on the bill in June as well.

Senate Committee Releases Bill to Lower Health Care Costs, Includes Provisions to Reduce Maternal Mortality
On May 23, the leadership of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (Senate HELP Committee) released the bill text and section-by-section summary of the Lower Health Care Costs Act of 2019, a bipartisan discussion draft of legislation to reduce health care costs and improve health outcomes. The discussion draft included five titles focused on ending surprise medical bills, reducing the price of prescription drugs, improving transparency in health care, improving public health, and improving the exchange of health information.

Title IV – the title focused on improving public health – included provisions to address vaccine misinformation (Sec. 401-402), develop a guide on evidence-based obesity prevention and control strategies for state and local health departments and tribes (Sec. 403), expand telehealth models like Project ECHO (Sec. 404), expand and modernize public health data systems (Sec. 405), and reduce maternal mortality and eliminate disparities in maternal health outcomes (Sec. 406-410).

The Senate HELP Committee is soliciting comments on the discussion draft that are due by 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday, June 5. Instructions for submitting comments are available on the committee's website.

AMCHP CEO Jonathan Webb released the following statement following release of the discussion draft: "The Alexander-Murray proposal's focus on improving maternal health outcomes will drive down costs and save lives. It's been a long time coming and is desperately needed."

House Committee Holds Hearing on Racial Disparities in Maternal Mortality
On May 16, the House Committee on Ways and Means held a hearing titled "Overcoming Racial Disparities and Social Determinants in the Maternal Mortality Crisis." A video recording of the hearing is available on YouTube. The first panel of witnesses included Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) and Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.), who spoke about their respective work on legislation to reduce maternal mortality and improve maternal health outcomes. The second panel of witnesses included U.S. track & field Olympian Allyson Felix, American Medical Association President-Elect Dr. Patrice Harris, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Interim CEO Dr. Lisa Hollier, former Maternal and Child Health Bureau Associate Administrator Dr. Michael Lu, Pennsylvania Deputy Secretary for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Dr. Loren Robinson, and Maternal Mortality Projects Coordinator for the Virginia Department of Health Dr. Melanie Rouse.

AMCHP Joins Letter that Supports Title X Appropriations, Opposes Title X Final Rule
On May 28, AMCHP joined an organizational sign-on letter led by the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association to the leadership of the Senate Appropriations Committee urging strong support for the Title X Family Planning Program in the Senate's fiscal year 2020 (FY20) appropriations legislation. Specifically, the letter requests that the Senate provide $400 million to the Title X program in FY20, which would be a $113.5 million increase over the FY19 funding level and mirrors the funding level provided in the FY20 House appropriations legislation. The letter also requests that the Senate appropriations bill include language from the House appropriations bill to block the implementation of the Trump Administration's Title X final rule.