House Energy and Commerce Committee: “Sabotage: The Trump Administration’s Attack on Health Care”
Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019: The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Energy and Commerce held to seek clarity on the Trump administration’s health care policy choices. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma testified at the hearing, and was met with hostility from Democratic members who wanted more answers on why the administration is dismantling the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Find more details on the hearing here.

Senate Committee on Finance: “Treating Substance Misuse in America: Scams, Shortfalls, and Solutions”
Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019: The Senate Committee on Finance held hearing on solutions to the substance misuse concern in the United States. Witnesses included the surgeon general, Dr. Jerome M. Adams; the director of Health Care at the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Dr. Mary Denigan-Macauley; and the deputy inspector general for Investigations at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Gary L. Cantrell. Find more details on the hearing here.


Ways and Means Passes Speaker Pelosi’s Drug Pricing Negotiation Bill, H.R. 3
On Oct. 22, the House Ways and Means Committee passed its amended version of H.R. 3, the Lower Drug Prices Now Act, to the House floor with a 24-17 vote along party lines. Health subcommittee Chairman Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) voted present on passage after unsuccessful attempts to expand the reach of the drug pricing reforms. The committee also endorsed renaming the bill the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Prices Now Act. The Ways and Means bill will now be consolidated with the marked-up bills from the House Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor Committees for full House vote, expected in November.


Bipartisan Drug Patent Bill Used in Negotiations for Broader Drug Pricing Reform
A bipartisan bill from Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) to stop drug manufacturers from gaming the patent system to eliminate generic competition is now part of negotiations for broader drug pricing reform. S. 1416, the Affordable Prescriptions for Patients Act of 2019, allows the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to sue drug manufacturers that get duplicative patents or attempt to delay cheaper generics from entering the market as well. While the Senate Judiciary Committee already passed the bill, Senate Democrats are using the bipartisan bill’s full passage as a bargaining chip to have more drug pricing legislation on the Senate floor. This is a result of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-SC) not yet committing to bring up either the Senate Finance Committee drug package, S. 2543, the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act of 2019 or the Senate HELP Committee bill, S. 1895, the Lower Health Care Costs Act.

Read more on healthcare policy on the McGuireWoods Consulting website.