House Energy and Commerce Committee to Investigate Health, Dental Insurers Over Record Profits
On Aug. 6, the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced an investigation into health and dental insurers’ business practices as companies reported record-setting second quarter profits. Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) is concerned that companies are profiting from patients’ forgoing care. In addition he questions why insurers are denying coverage for COVID-19 testing, while accumulating large cash reserves. He will ask companies whether they are covering tests cost-free as required by law and how they intend to use their profits to help Americans during the crisis. The committee has yet to say which companies will be investigated. Find more information here.
House Ways & Means Committee: COVID-19 Nursing Home Data Missing, Unreliable
On Aug. 5, House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal (D-MA) wrote to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma that his committee has found large gaps in the COVID-19 data nursing homes report to CMS. Rep. Neal announced that the incomplete data is making it difficult to accurately assess death rates and staffing needs and to allocate provider relief funds. The committee wants to know by Aug. 21 how CMS will fix the data collection problems. Find more information here.
Wyden Introduces Legislation to Prevent Vaccine Manufacturers From Hiking Prices Post-Pandemic
On Aug. 7, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced legislation to maintain lower prices for a COVID-19 vaccine for all vaccines developed with government funds. The Vaccine and Coverage Certainty Act caps increases on prices the drug manufacturers offer the federal government during the pandemic. The inflation rebates proposed in the bill apply to Medicare and Medicaid. The legislation would also provide more federal Medicaid funding to states that expanded Medicaid coverage after 2014, ensure migrants have access to Medicaid, and protect people who are experiencing job and health insurance instability during the pandemic and associated economic concerns. Find the bill here.
Read more on healthcare policy in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Washington Healthcare Update.