House Committee on Energy and Commerce: “Oversight of Federal Efforts to Combat the Spread of Illicit Fentanyl”
Tuesday, July 16, 2019: The House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee will hold a hearing on the federal oversight of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine, with a high risk for addiction and dependence. Find witness testimonies and hearing updates as they become available here.
Why this is important: Members acknowledge that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Postal Service have worked to address the spread of illicit fentanyl. Yet, they told the agency witnesses that a lack of data sharing among the agencies is a challenge in properly doing so.
House Committee on Energy and Commerce: Full Committee Markup
Wednesday, July 17, 2019: The House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a committee markup on 26 total bills, 12 of which were health care–related legislation. All 12 were favorably reported, as amended, to the House floor. Most notably, Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) offered an amendment in the nature of a substitute, to add H.R. 3631, the “Territories Health Care Improvement Act” and H.R. 3630, the “No Surprises Act” into the package H.R. 2328, the “Reauthorizing and Extending America’s Community Health Act” or the “REACH Act.”
To address concerns on the benchmark pricing provision in H.R 3630, a bill to address “surprise bills,” Reps. Ruiz (D-CA) and Bucshon (R-IN) introduced an amendment that allows providers and insurers to appeal to a neutral arbiter in cases where the billed charges exceed $1,250. The arbiter will have final say over payment. The amendment was passed by voice vote.
Other legislation from the markup that was favorably reported includes:
- H.R. 2211, the “Stop Tip-Overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth Act” or the “STURDY Act”
- H.R. 3172, the “Safe Sleep for Babies Act of 2019”
- H.R. 3170, the “Safe Cribs Act of 2019”
- H.R. 2781, the “Educating Medical Professionals and Optimizing Workforce Efficiency and Readiness for Health Act of 2019” or the “EMPOWER for Health Act of 2019”
- H.R. 728, the “Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2019”
- H.R. 1058, the “Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support Act of 2019” or the “Autism CARES Act of 2019”
- H.R. 2507, the “Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act of 2019”
- H.R. 776, the “Emergency Medical Services for Children Program Reauthorization Act of 2019”
- H.R. 2035, the “Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act of 2019”
- H.R. 2296, the “More Efficient Tools to Realize Information for Consumers Act’’ or the “METRIC Act”
- H.R. 2328, the “Reauthorizing and Extending America’s Community Health Act” or the “REACH Act”
Find details of the markup, with amendments and vote tallies, here.
House Committee on the Judiciary: “Counterfeits and Cluttering: Emerging Threats to the Integrity of the Trademark System and the Impact on American Consumers and Businesses”
Thursday, July 18, 2019: The House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, will hold a hearing on threats to the U.S. trademark system. Find witness testimonies and hearing updates as they become available here.
Why this is important: This hearing addressed the proliferation of counterfeit products sold in online marketplaces, including fake drugs. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) commissioner for trademarks warned of Chinese filers of fraudulent trademarks. One witness, on behalf of the International Trademark Association (INTA), asked that amendments be made to the Lanham Act to restore the presumption of irreparable harm. The committee is considering next steps.
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Read more on healthcare policy on the McGuireWoods Consulting website.