Also on Capitol Hill Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce Health subcommittee will host a hearing on the reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act and listen to testimony from FDA Administrator Dr. Margaret Hamburg. And in the evening, House members will vote on a bill to repeal the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act, the voluntary, long-term-care program embedded in the Affordable Care Act.
Meanwhile, yesterday marked the close of the comment period for HHS' “Essential Health Benefits Bulletin,” which the agency released in December for the purpose of gaining feedback from the healthcare industry about the Affordable Care Act measure that will outline what health plans need to include. (A few weeks ago, the GOP took HHS to task for releasing the bulletin, rather than a proposed rule, but an HHS spokeswoman said in December that the agency plans to follow the regular rulemaking process).
The Federation of American Hospitals weighed in (PDF) on behalf of more than 1,000 investor-owned community hospitals and health systems. Among its comments, the Federation said HHS should create a minimum federal standard or some basic requirements for essential health benefit packages for which states must comply, and also that the agency should implement a standard definition of “medical necessity.”
Here's a sampling of other public comments that have been sent to HHS from the Essential Health Benefits Coalition and the Children's Hospital Association (PDF), formerly the National Association of Children's Hospitals.
Follow Jessica Zigmond on Twitter @MHJZigmond.