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Capitol Correspondence - 02.25.20

HHS Secretary to Testify in Four Hearings this Week, Medicaid Among Expected Topics

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U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar will testify in four Congressional Committee hearings this week, focusing on the HHS budget and the coronavirus. In addition, policy watchers expect committee members to ask the Secretary to address the Administration’s Medicaid policies and new liver transplant policies, as well the department’s care of unaccompanied minors.

As reported by Politico Pulse:

— Tuesday morning: A Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing, which could be the least contentious of the four panels next week, given the GOP’s leadership. But it also gives subcommittee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) a chance to whack at Azar over HHS’ new liver transplant allocation policy, which Blunt has repeatedly called flawed and harmful.

— Wednesday morning: A House Appropriations subcommittee hearing, in front of subcommittee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), who has spent weeks pressing Azar to ask for more funding to fight coronavirus and also plans to raise questions on the health department’s care for unaccompanied children, an aide said.

— Wednesday afternoon: A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on the budget, followed by a second panel on the coronavirus response, where Azar will be joined by public health experts.

— Thursday morning: A House Ways and Means hearing, in front of members like Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.), who recently warned Azar that administration efforts to overhaul Medicaid spending represent a ‘direct attack’ on the program.”