Few health-related bills are expected this year: Roskam

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Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL): More regulatory relief warranted.
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL): More regulatory relief warranted.

At least one prominent lawmaker is being straightforward about what providers can likely expect this fall from Congress. His stance? Not much.

The influential chairman of the House Ways & Means Health Subcommittee, Peter Roskam (R-IL), said that lawmakers likely will consider only two types of healthcare legislation the rest of this year: Medicare deregulation and bills that address the opioid crisis.

Mid-term elections, which typically divide lawmakers' attention, and usually makes them less willing to take strong policy positions, will tamp down the prospects of legislative progress. Although this is most often the obvious reality, not many politicians treat the topic with as much candor as Roskam did.

Speaking at the American Hospital Association's annual meeting in Washington, D.C., he emphasized his Republican party's ongoing focus on reducing certain regulations on providers that “have no relationship to patient health.”

He noted that he had received about 500 submissions after asking for comments about what regulations make providers “crazy.” The submissions are in the process of being “sliced and diced” to decide how they can be addressed, Roskam said.

He said CMS is “very attentive” to reducing regulatory burden and that Congress should be willing to change statutes where needed.

“Let's build a consensus about the regulatory burden,” Roskam said. “Let's deal with the patient question. Let's deal with the balance, and then let's move through a bill that makes sense.”

The Illinois congressman also said he intends to advance a package on opioid legislation before the August recess.