Administration and Federal Agencies
USDE Appoints AACOM Nominee to Negotiated Rulemaking
The USDE recently appointed AACOM nominee Sue Huppert, Des Moines
University Chief of External and Government Affairs, to serve as a
negotiator on its newly established Negotiated Rulemaking Subcommittee
on Distance Learning and Educational Innovation. The subcommittee is
one of three that will make recommendations to the USDE’s Accreditation
and Innovation Committee. The committee was formed to address the
USDE’s recognition of accrediting agencies and related institutional
eligibility issues, and it will begin its work today.
In addition, the USDE also
appointed Janice Knebl, DO, MBA, Chair of the
American Osteopathic Association (AOA)’s Commission on Osteopathic
College Accreditation, to the committee in representation of
Programmatic Accrediting Agencies on the negotiated rulemaking panel.
Dr. Knebl was nominated for this committee by
the AOA with support from AACOM.
Texas Judge Strikes Down the
Affordable Care Act
On December 14, 2018, a Texas
District Court held that the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
was unconstitutional, striking down the entire ACA on the grounds that
its mandate requiring people to buy health insurance is
unconstitutional and the rest of the law cannot stand without it. U.S.
District Judge Reed O'Connor ruled that because Congress reduced the
tax penalty of the individual mandate to zero dollars in 2017, the law
could no longer be considered a valid exercise of Congress’ power to
tax. As the Supreme Court relied on congressional authority to tax in
finding the law constitutional in 2012, Judge O’Connor subsequently
found that without that underpinned authority, the individual mandate
could no longer be considered constitutional. In finding the entire law
and not just the individual mandate unconstitutional, Judge O’Connor
further held that the individual mandate was an essential and integral
part of the ACA, and thus, the ACA could not constitutionally exist
without the mandate. On December 30, Judge O’Connor ordered his ruling to be stayed during the
pendency of the appeals process. Accordingly, the law will continue in
force until the appeal is resolved.
The ruling is regarding a lawsuit
filed this year by a group of Republican governors and state attorneys
general. A coalition of Democrats from 17 states appealed the ruling to the 5th U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals based in New Orleans. This case is expected to make
its way to the Supreme Court.
Senate Confirms ONDCP Director
On January 2, the Senate confirmed
James Carroll as the Director of the Office of National Drug Control
Policy (ONDCP). The ONDCP works to reduce drug use and its consequences
by leading and coordinating the development, implementation, and
assessment of U.S. drug policy. Mr. Carroll has served as Acting
Director of the ONDCP since February 2018. Prior to the ONDCP, he
served as Deputy to the White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Special
Assistant and Associate Counsel under the Bush Administration, Deputy
General Counsel and Acting General Counsel at the Department of the
Treasury, and as an attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice.
USDE Releases Higher Education
The USDE Office of Postsecondary
Education released its “Rethinking Higher Education” white paper on
December 19, 2018. The paper identified and acknowledged several issues
in the higher education landscape, focusing on the value of a degree in
the workplace relative to its cost, the higher education system’s
failure to provide innovative solutions for non-traditional students,
and the reliance on simplistic outcome metrics to assess institutional
success. The white paper also highlights the growing burden of federal
regulations and their negative impact on improved educational quality
and on student preparation and outcomes. To remedy these issues, the
Department proposes to reform the way student and institutional success
is assessed, reduce or clarify regulatory burdens, and enable
institutions and accreditors to explore non-traditional educational models.
AACOM will continue to update its membership on developments from this
Office Releases Annual Deficit Report
The Congressional Budget Office
issued its “Options for Reducing the Deficit: 2019 to 2028,”
which includes 121 proposals to decrease federal spending or increase
federal revenues. The report identified certain areas for cuts in the
education space, including changes to Pell Grant eligibility and
add-ons, reduction or elimination of public service and graduate loan
forgiveness, reduction or elimination of subsidized loans for
undergraduate students, and the removal of the cap on interest rates
for student loans. The report further identifies GME as an area of
possible savings, proposing to consolidate or reduce federal payments
for GME at teaching hospitals. The report is designed to inform
lawmakers of the possible options for debt reduction available and
makes no recommendations or endorsements.
Please see AACOM’s newly released Public Policy Agenda for the 116th Congress.
Featured Federal Resources and COM
NHSC Accepting Applications for
FY19 Loan Repayment Programs: The National Health
Service Corps Loan Repayment Program and Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment
Program are now open and accepting applications for FY19. The
programs, administered by the Health Resources and Services
Administration at HHS, are open to clinicians who want to serve the
nation's underserved rural, urban, and tribal communities. A complete
online application is due by 7:30 PM ET on February 21. A Q&A
session will be offered January 24, 2:30 – 3:30 PM ET. Learn more.
NIDA National Drug and Alcohol
Facts Week: The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) will host
its annual National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW) January 22 –
27, focused on linking teens to science-based facts to SHATTER THE
MYTHS® about drugs. In addition to the annual Drug and Alcohol Chat Day, NDAFW events are
locally planned and hosted by a variety of organizations, including
schools, colleges/universities, community groups, and hospitals. A
variety of drug or audience-specific toolkits are available to assist event
organizers. Learn more.
HP2030 Proposed Objectives Public
Comment Now Open: HHS is accepting written comments
regarding the Healthy People 2030 objectives through Thursday, January
17. This initiative focuses on critical health promotion and disease
prevention topics. In the public comment period, HHS requests input on proposed Core, Developmental, and Research objectives.
HEAL Initiative: Preventing Opioid
Use Disorder in Older Adolescents and Young Adults Funding Opportunity:
NIDA is accepting applications from February 13 through March 13, 2019,
to participate in its Preventing Opioid Misuse and Opioid Use Disorder
in Older Adolescents and Young Adults initiative. The initiative
consists of research grants and a coordinating center focused on
establishing evidence-based interventions and strategies to prevent
opioid misuse and development of opioid use disorder in at-risk
adolescents and young adults. Learn more: RFA-DA-19-035 (UG3/UH3) and RFA-DA-19-034 (U24). A technical assistance
webinar will be held from 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM ET on January 17 to
provide an overview of these opportunities and address general
questions from potential applicants. Register.
Governor Little Names ICOM
Professor Chairman of the Board of Idaho Department of Correction:
Idaho Governor Brad Little recently appointed David McClusky, II, MD,
Professor of Surgery at the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine
(ICOM), to Chairman of the Board of the Idaho Department of Correction.
"ICOM congratulates Dr. McClusky for his
recent appointment by Governor Brad Little," said Dr. Robert T.
Hasty, ICOM Founding Dean. "Dr. McClusky
is not only an excellent physician and surgeon,
he's also an active and engaged community member, having served in
various civic and charitable organizations throughout the state of
Idaho. We are proud of his accomplishments both in and out of the
classroom." Learn more.
Governor Cuomo Announces $3 Million
LECOM Award: On January 2, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
announced that the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine was
granted $3 million to construct an Elmira Campus building to house a new medical
school program. The grant is part of the Regional Economic Development
Awards, which fund statewide economic and community development. Learn more.