House Democrats Introduce HEA Reauthorization Bill

Chairman Bobby Scott just released a detailed fact sheet and title by title summaries for his HEA reauthorization bill, the College Affordability Act. He will be doing a press conference with Speaker Pelosi this afternoon at 3:30PM. Please find links below.

House Education & Labor Press Release

The College Affordability Act - Fact Sheet

The College Affordability Act - Title by Title

CAA At a Glance -- SKILLED WORKFORCE

CAA At a Glance -- QUALITY

CAA At A Glance -- LOANS

CAA At A Glance -- EQUITY

CAA At A Glance -- COST

Department of Veterans Affairs Long Standing Workforce Problems

A report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) indicates that turnover in key occupations threatens VA’s ability to deliver on its mission. Specifically, about a third of VA’s workers in 2017—including many senior leaders—would be eligible to retire by 2022. Some allied health professions are mentioned as being mission-critical occupations and clinical occupations. 

The report can be obtained at https://www.gao.gov/assets/710/702032.pdf.

Creating A Diverse Student Success Infrastructure

A new report from the American Council on Education (ACE) shares a road map for institutions to create and implement a systemic approach to student success for a diverse student population, including cross-functional collaboration and shared, equity-minded leadership. 

The report can be obtained at https://www.acenet.edu/Documents/Creating-a-Diverse-Student-Success-Infrastructure.pdf.

Unsupported Drug Price Increases

Net price increases for seven drugs raised U.S. drug spending by $5.1 billion between 2017 and 2018 without evidence of improved safety or effectiveness, according to the first annual report by the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review on the costliest U.S. drug price increases unsupported by clinical evidence. For example, the average U.S. price for Humira, a drug used to treat chronic illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis, increased 15.9% over the period after accounting for rebates and other concessions, which increased spending on the drug by an additional $1.86 billion. 

The report can be obtained at https://icer-review.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/ICER_UPI_Final_Report_and_Assessment_100819_Final.pdf.

Pre-Existing Condition Prevalence For Individuals And Families

An estimated 27% of adults under age 65, or 53.8 million, had a preexisting health condition in 2018, according to a study released by the Kaiser Family Foundation. State estimates range from 22% in Colorado to 37% in West Virginia, based on 2018 data from the National Health Interview Survey.   

The study can be obtained at https://www.kff.org/health-reform/issue-brief/pre-existing-condition-prevalence-for-individuals-and-families/?utm_campaign=KFF-2019-Health-Reform&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=2&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-_WXUXBNGEfmzYezTz9s3OXrJwZIuaZver07OJKagAYpQn_OR2E2MVPuVDPAwicDqGDNCM2qeBnVKZF4bc9vQn6DsRNaw&_hsmi=2.

ASAHP and Other Health Organizations Send Amicus Brief to the United States Supreme Court in Support of DACA recipients

On November 12th, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California case challenging the rescission by the Trump Administration of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

ASAHP, along with 32 other health and higher education associations, sent an Amicus Brief in support of the DACA program and its students and practitioners in health related professions. Please find a link to the Amicus Brief here.

 

Funding To Improve Social Determinants Of Health

The GrantWatch column in the September 2019 issue of the journal Health Affairs describes funding by foundations that addresses either of two social risk factors: food insecurity and inadequate housing. Examples are provided of endeavors that obtained financial support. 

The article can be obtained at https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/pdf/10.1377/hlthaff.2019.01013.

Profile of Very Low- and Low-Income Undergraduates

A Statistics in Brief report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) focuses on two groups of low-income undergraduate students enrolled in U.S. postsecondary institutions in 2015–16: very low- and low-income students, defined as those whose family incomes fell below 50% and between 50 and 100%, respectively, of the federal poverty level for their family size. The report compares these students’ demographic and enrollment characteristics, financial aid, and price of attendance with those of students whose family incomes were above the federal poverty level.  

The report can be obtained at https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2020/2020460.pdf.

Medicare ACOs Generate Net Savings

The Medicare Shared Savings Program generated $739.4 million in total net savings across 548 accountable care organizations in 2018, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Participating ACOs agree to be held accountable for the quality, cost, and experience of care of an assigned Medicare fee-for-service beneficiary population, and can participate at different levels of risk. 

More information can be obtained at https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20190930.702342/full/.

Annual Employer Health Benefits Survey Results

The annual survey of employers by The Kaiser Family Foundation provides a detailed look at trends in employer-­sponsored health coverage, including premiums, employee contributions, cost-­sharing provisions, offer rates, wellness programs, and employer practices. The 2019 survey included 2,012 interviews with non-­federal public and private firms. 

The results of the survey can be obtained at http://files.kff.org/attachment/Report-Employer-Health-Benefits-Annual-Survey-2019.

Senator Alexander Introduces Piecemeal Higher Education Act Reauthorization

On Thursday, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee introduced an eight-bill package of bipartisan proposals to begin Higher Education Act reauthorization, the “Student Aid Improvement Act of 2019”. He hopes to attach an additional three bills at a later date. The introduction of this package was met with opposition from the Committee’s Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), who prefers a comprehensive HEA reauthorization proposal rather than piecemeal bills.

 

The text of the legislation may be accessed here:

The press release may be accessed here.

Chairman Alexander’s prepared floor remarks may be accessed here.

Charter School Market Share And Student Achievement

The youth of today represents the higher education student pool of tomorrow. In urban districts, the more black and Hispanic students attend charter schools, the greater the achievement gain is for those students of color in the entire district, according to a new Fordham Institute study. The relationship between charter school "market share" and student achievement for all children in a district is examined.  

The study can be obtained at file:///C:/Users/thoma/Downloads/20190926-rising-tide-charter-school-market-share-and-student-achievement-1.pdf.

Addressing Social Needs To Improve Health Outcomes

A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends actions for health care systems, government agencies, and others to integrate patients’ social needs into health care delivery more effectively. 

The report can be obtained at http://nationalacademies.org/hmd/Reports/2019/integrating-social-care-into-the-delivery-of-health-care.

Use Of Quality Measurement Activities By CMS TO Promote Its Objectives

Medicare has made it a priority to develop and use measures of health care quality that address key aspects of care while minimizing the data reporting burden on providers, but according to a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), it is not always clear that Medicare’s measures address its priorities. Recommendations are made to ensure Medicare’s priorities drive its quality measurement activities. 

The report can be accessed at https://www.gao.gov/assets/710/701512.pdf.

Americans Pay More Than Patients In Other Nations For Prescription Drugs

Today, the Ways and Means Committee released a report, finding that U.S. drug prices are nearly four times higher than the combined average of 11 other similar countries, and that Americans pay as much as 67 times more than consumers in other nations for prescription drugs, even when accounting for rebates. 

The report can be obtained at https://waysandmeans.house.gov/sites/democrats.waysandmeans.house.gov/files/documents/U.S.%20vs.%20International%20Prescription%20Drug%20Prices_0.pdf.

U.S. Workforce Development Needs An Overhaul

The American workplace has changed profoundly over the past 40 years. Yet, nearly two decades into the 21st century, the U.S. approach to education, training, and workforce development still runs on a 20th-century model. So what can be done to create a system that will thrive in the 21st century and beyond? A new RAND report envisions a future focused on providing equitable and continuous access to training, and efficiently matching (and rematching) workers and jobs. 

The report can be obtained at https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR2768.html.

New Data On Measuring A Culture Of Health

Four years ago, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) introduced a Culture of Health Action Framework and measures to help track the nation’s progress toward becoming a country that values health everywhere, for everyone. A new update shows progress that has occurred.  

The update can be obtained at https://www.rwjf.org/en/blog/2019/09/new-data-on-how-were-measuring-a-culture-of-health.html?rid=0034400001rmH3gAAE&et_cid=1831683.