Finance Committee Advances Price Nomination

On Wednesday, February 1st, the Senate Finance Committee voted to advance the nomination of Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) to serve as the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Committee held a nearly four hour long hearing last week during which Rep. Price responded to questions on a range of topics from the Affordable Care Act to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) to telehealth.  Committee Democrats opted to not be present for the vote for a second day in row, prompting Chairman Hatch (R-UT) to suspend certain committee rules and advance the nomination by voice vote.  Rep. Price’s nomination will now head to the Senate floor for a full vote, the final step in his confirmation process, although a date has not been set.

(HEADLINE) Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Holds Hearing on Shulkin Nomination

(HOOK) During the hearing, Dr. Shulkin touted the VA’s success in utilizing technology, specifically citing the use of telehealth to treat veterans in rural areas.

On Wednesday, February 1st, the Senate Veterans Affairs (VA) Committee held a hearing during which Members questioned President Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Dr. David Shulkin, on a range of issues affecting the VA. Dr. Shulkin currently serves as the Department’s undersecretary.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Shulkin pledged that under his leadership “there will be far greater accountability, dramatically improved access, responsiveness and expanded care options.” During the hearing, Dr. Shulkin touted the VA’s success in utilizing technology, specifically citing the use of telehealth to treat veterans in rural areas saying, “nobody in this country is using telehealth technology the way the VA is.” Dr. Shulkin also discussed the continued improvement of the VA Blue button, a tool designed to allow Veterans to easily view and download their electronic health records, saying a team within the VA is “looking into ways to expand its capabilities” beyond simply viewing and downloading records. In his closing remarks, Veteran Affairs Committee Chairman Jonny Isakson (R-GA) stated that he hoped to schedule a committee vote on Dr. Shulkin’s confirmation next week.