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Action Center

Washington Update - February 2018
February 1, 2018 by Tyler Smith
  • Star Grassroots Advocates
    • The Government Relations team would like to congratulate Jacqueline Kazik, MA, PA-C; Priscilla Marsicovetere, JD, PA-C; Amy Akerman, MPAS, PA-C; Carolyn Bradley-Guidry, MPAS, PA-C; and Karen Graham, PhD, MPAS, PA-C on their recent appointments to the Government Relations Steering Committee. Thank you for your leadership in advocacy on behalf of PA education!
  • Advancing PAEA’s Advocacy Agenda
    • In 2018, the Senate is expected to follow the House’s December effort in drafting a reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA), the most significant potential overhaul of the HEA since its last reauthorization in 2008. In response to the potential of this reauthorization to include loan parity under the Direct loan program for PA students, more favorable loan repayment options, and new development opportunities for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions, PAEA has engaged directly with Senate offices to ensure the voice of PA education is represented in the reauthorization debate.
    • Senators Collins, Markey, Hassan, and Paul introduced the Addiction Treatment Access Improvement Act in January, a measure which would make DATA waiver eligibility for PAs to prescribe buprenorphine to treat opioid use disorder permanent. Under current law, eligibility is set to expire in 2021. PAEA recently submitted comments thanking the senators for their leadership on this legislation and expressing a desire to work collaboratively to advance this bill through Congress.
  • Health Care News in Washington
    • On January 24, the Senate voted 55-43 to confirm Alex Azar as the next Secretary of Health and Human Services. In his confirmation hearings, Azar identified lowering drug prices, lowering insurance costs, promoting value-based care, and addressing the opioid epidemic as top priorities for his tenure as Secretary. PAEA recently sent a letter to Azar congratulating him on his confirmation and expressing a desire to continue productive collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services under his leadership.
    • Following a brief government shutdown as the result of Senate Democrats and Republicans reaching an impasse concerning the issue of DACA recipients, President Trump signed a government funding bill in January which included six years of extended funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Notably, funding for other programs such as community health centers and the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) was not included in this bill and is expected to be addressed in future spending packages.
  • Opportunities for Action
    • In January, the Government Relations team sent an action alert asking PAEA members to contact their representatives and tell them to protect the Grad PLUS and Public Service Loan Forgiveness programs as the proposed reauthorization of the HEA moves forward. If you have not already done so, please take action to protect these essential programs.
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