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Federal Health Policy Updates for the Week of March 4, 2024

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Just in time, again 
They march to their own rhythm 
And the beat goes on 


The Rundown

  • Busy week in Washington ends with a federal spending minibus and the State of the Union 
  • Super Tuesday recap 
  • Regulatory update 
  • What’s up NC delegation  
  • The latest from our desks  
  • Virtual office hours – Come see us on March 26th!   
  • Join the Duke Health Advocacy Network! 

Federal Updates

Elections & budgets & addresses, oh my!  
Talk about a busy week in Washington! Within the span of a few days, we had the Super Tuesday primary elections (more information on those below), a minibus government funding bill, and the State of the Union Address. After weeks of the only big news being “no news” and lack of progress, the path forward seems clearer. 

On Wednesday, the House passed by a wide-margin the minibus FY2024 spending package that included six bills (the Agriculture-FDA, Energy-Water, Military Construction-VA, Transportation-HUD, Interior-Environment, and Commerce-Justice-Science spending bills). The Senate is working to pass the minibus on Friday, averting a partial government shutdown that is slated to begin at midnight. With that, 6 of the 12 spending bills for the fiscal year that began October 1 are now done. 

So, what about the other six? Funding for those, which include Defense, Homeland Security, and Labor-Health and Human Services-Education, was extended until March 22. While the negotiations around this second group of bills have been more contentious, there is optimism that the large bipartisan support for this week’s effort will carryover in two weeks. 

Also on Thursday, President Biden gave his annual State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress. The State of the Union is generally an opportunity for the president to outline policy priorities for the upcoming year while also discussing past and present challenges and accomplishments. In addition to the economy and international affairs, there was an emphasis on healthcare access and bipartisan policy wins, and the president outlined his vision for a potential second term. Among the healthcare priorities mentioned include: 

  • Abortion and reproductive rights 
  • Drug pricing 
  • Mental and behavioral health  

Further details of the administration’s plans and priorities for this year and the remainder of its current term are expected as part of the president’s FY 2025 budget proposal scheduled to be released March 11.      

Super Tuesday: Primary election recap 
On Tuesday, North Carolina held its primary elections for several state and federal offices, including nominees vying for congressional seats across the state. Due to redistricting, all 14 of the state’s congressional districts look different than the last election in 2022. Neither Senator Thom Tillis (R) nor Ted Budd (R) are up for reelection, and we expect North Carolina’s House delegation will likely change from a 7-7 split (evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats) to an 11-3 or 10-4 Republican-Democrat divide. 

As a result, we are anticipating several significant changes in our congressional delegation come January 2025. Below is a summary of some of the federal races with big implications for the future makeup of the NC congressional delegation and our work. Our office continues to plan for the post-election environment and will identify opportunities for Duke Health to engage new members of Congress on priorities, while strengthening current and fostering new relationships amid the changing policy landscape. 

For more information on the results of the state primaries, sign up to receive updates from Duke State Relations

1st Congressional District 
In NC-01, which includes most of the northeast corner of the state and is North Carolina’s most competitive seat due to redistricting, retired Army colonel Laurie Buckhout (R) will face first-term incumbent Rep. Don Davis (D) in November. The district has not elected a Republican in more than 100 years. 

2nd Congressional District (Duke Raleigh Hospital) 
Incumbent Deborah Ross (D) had no primary opposition and will face Alan Swain (R) in November. 

3rd Congressional District 
Incumbent Greg Murphy (R) had no primary opposition and will face Gheorghe Cormos (L) in November. No Democratic candidate filed to run in this race. 

4th Congressional District (Duke University; Duke University Hospital; Duke Regional Hospital) 
Incumbent Valerie Foushee (D) had no primary opposition and will face Eric Blankenburg (R) in November.  

5th Congressional District 
Incumbent Virginia Foxx (R) defeated her primary opponent and will face Chuck Hubbard (D) in November. 

6th Congressional District 
In NC-06, current Rep. Kathy Manning (D) declined to run for reelection and no other Democrat filed to run. On the Republican side, six candidates filed for the open seat in the safe Republican district, and no one achieved more than the 30% necessary to avoid a run-off election. Republican Addison McDowell led the field with 26.1% of the vote, with former Rep. Mark Walker coming in second with 24.1%. A runoff election will be held on May 14. 

7th Congressional District 
There were no contested primaries on either the Republican or the Democratic side. Incumbent David Rouzer (R) will face Marlando Pridgen (D) in November. 

8th Congressional District 
In NC-08, which comprises a large portion of the southern Piedmont area, incumbent Rep. Dan Bishop (R) will be the Republican nominee for state attorney general, leaving the recently redrawn district to remain a safe Republican seat. Republican Mark Harris (R) will face Keith Davenport (D) in November. 

9th Congressional District 
Incumbent Richard Hudson (R) defeated his primary opponent and will face Nigel Bristow (D) in November.  

10th Congressional District 
With Rep. Patrick McHenry (R) declining to run for reelection in this safe Republican district, Veteran and gun manufacturer Pat Harrigan (R) defeated his primary opponents and will face Ralph Scott Jr. (D) in November. 

11th Congressional District 
Incumbent Chuck Edwards (R) defeated his primary opponent and will face Caleb Rudow (D) in November.  

12th Congressional District 
There were no contested primaries on either the Republican or the Democratic side. Incumbent Alma Adams (D) will face Addul Ali (R) in November.  

13th Congressional District 
Incumbent Rep. Wiley Nickel (D) declined to run for reelection for this seat in the Raleigh suburbs after it was drawn to be more favorable to Republicans. The Republican primary included 14 candidates and is headed to a runoff election on May 14. 

14th Congressional District 
Incumbent Rep. Jeff Jackson (D) will be the Democratic nominee for state attorney general after declining to run for reelection for this redrawn seat outside of Mecklenburg County. North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R) won his primary and will face Pam Genant (D) in November for the 14th congressional district. 

It rules: Regulatory updates
This week, a triumvirate of federal agencies released a request for information on the influence of private investment in healthcare, and HHS rules are stacking up for review at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the executive branch’s clearinghouse for regulatory changes that require notice and comment rulemaking. 

This week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a request for information with respect to the impact of private equity’s increased investment and “encroachment” into healthcare. Among the questions being asked for feedback from the public and other stakeholders include the impact of private equity on patient access, providers and support staff, competition, and certain services and products. The comment period runs through May 6, 2024, and our team is working with Duke Health leadership to coordinate any system-wide response. 

Major HHS rules pending 
Currently awaiting final review at OMB are rule updates to the Affordable Care Act’s Section 1557 nondiscrimination provisions, HHS policies for nondiscrimination on the basis of disability, HIPAA guidance for reproductive health, and health data interoperability. These rules may be cleared for publication at any time in the coming weeks. 

What’s up, NC delegation  
Last week, Reps. Richard Hudson (R-NC-09) and André Carson (D-IN) introduced a bipartisan resolution supporting the designation of the last day of February as "Rare Disease Day." In his statement, Rep. Hudson stated that “families impacted by rare diseases often face unimaginable challenges in getting the treatment they need…I'm proud to lead this bipartisan effort to raise awareness and support North Carolinians battling rare diseases.” 

From our desk(s): Duke Health GR this week
This week, our team coordinated an introductory meeting for the Duke-UCLA co-leads of the National Coordinating Center for Child Traumatic Stress (NCCTS), the coordinating center for the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), with staff of the co-chairs of the new Senate Mental Health Caucus to educate them on the work of the NCTSN and to be a resource for the Caucus.  

Our team joined a meeting for the Advocacy in Clinical Leadership Track (ACLT) program in the Department of Medicine to provide an overview of our work and help inform their advocacy efforts as part of the federal healthcare policy process. 

Our office coordinated Duke Health’s support for a community funding letter for FY 2025 to support the Public Health Workforce Loan Repayment Program as well as funding to support the launch of the Bio-Preparedness Workforce Pilot Program at the Health Resources and Services Administration. 

See You Soon – Virtual “Office Hours” on March 26th
Duke Health (federal) Government Relations is once again partnering with our Duke State Relations colleagues to hold virtual "office hours.” Open to members of the Duke Health Advocacy Network, these “office hours” are not formal presentations but instead an opportunity to talk about health-related issues before Congress and for us to learn more about the issues that are at the forefront for you and your work.     

Date: Tuesday, March 26, 2024      
Time: 12:00pm

A meeting invite will be distributed soon. If you would like to be added to the meeting invite, click here.    

Not yet a member of the Duke Health Advocacy Network? No problem! Learn more about how to join below. 

Join the Duke Health Advocacy Network!
Looking for more opportunities to connect with fellow advocates and professionals interested in public policy across the health system? Join the Duke Health Advocacy Teams Channel! We’re growing leaps and bounds and hope you’ll consider joining us!

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We encourage you to explore the channel, as we will post relevant news items, policy updates, questions, advocacy resources, and opportunities for engagement. As importantly, this is your space to do the same and to help grow the community.

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