Senate Special Committee on Aging: “Promoting Healthy Aging – Living Your Best Life Long into Your Golden Years”
The Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing for seniors seeking to maintain a healthy lifestyle as they age. Find the hearing transcript here.

House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Health: “Making Prescription Drugs More Affordable: Legislation to Negotiate a Better Deal for Americans”
The Subcommittee on Health of the Committee on Energy and Commerce held a legislative hearing to discuss Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) new drug pricing bill (H.R. 3), which gives the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) authority to negotiate drug prices that apply to all payers, including the commercial market. The hearing also discussed several different proposals that would permit government negotiation of drug prices.

  • H.R. 3, the “Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019”
  • H.R. 275, the “Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2019”
  • H.R. 448, the “Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act”
  • H.R. 1046, the “Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act of 2019”

Find more information for this hearing here.

Why this is important: Progressive Democrats have said Speaker Pelosi’s proposed plan (H.R. 3) does not go far enough, but Democratic members did not act divided in their support of the bill during the hearing. Instead, Republican members emphasized the partisan nature of the bill, raising concerns that bipartisan gains made recently through work in the subcommittee have been lost with this new proposal. Republican members emphasized that they were left out of writing the bill.

House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations: “Sounding the Alarm: The Public Health Threats of E-Cigarettes”
Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO) announced that the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee held a hearing on Wednesday, Sept. 25, on the public health impacts and regulatory authorities related to e-cigarette manufacturing, sales and use. Testimony was provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and state health officials. Find the hearing and corresponding materials here.

Why this is important: As of Sept. 19, 2019, 530 cases of lung illness associated with the use of e-cigarette products have been reported in 38 states and one U.S. territory. As of the same date, seven deaths related to this illness have been confirmed in California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota and Oregon. Members are concerned, and gained insight from the witness panel on how to proceed after the FDA finalizes a compliance policy to prioritize the premarket authorization requirements to clear the market of unauthorized non-tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes, including mint and menthol e-cigarettes.

House Committee on Education and Labor: Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Subcommittee: “Making Health Care More Affordable: Lowering Drug Prices and Increasing Transparency”
The House Committee on Education and Labor, HELP subcommittee held a hearing on the drug-pricing plan released by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) last week. H.R. 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019, allows the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to negotiate drug prices and creates fines for drug manufacturers that do not follow these negotiated prices. Find the hearing and corresponding materials here.

Why this is important: Republican members are concerned that because Republicans were left out of the crafting of the legislation, the plan is partisan and will stifle the market and innovation. Republicans feel any progress toward a bipartisan proposal has been tarnished. Some witnesses and Republican members viewed the negotiation proposal as price controls on prescription drugs. Republican members debated whether drug-pricing negotiations will deter innovation, while Democratic members argued that the NIH could carry the weight of innovative research. The hearing ended with no shared consensus between parties.



Read more on healthcare policy on the McGuireWoods Consulting website.