This week in Washington: Supreme Court dismisses challenge to the Affordable Care Act.
House Appropriations Committee Releases Fiscal Year 2022 Bill Schedule
On June 15, chair of the House Appropriations Committee Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) released the markup schedule for fiscal year (FY) 2022 spending bills. The Appropriations Committee plans to take up the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) appropriations next week and the Department of Health and Human Services’s (HHS) appropriations in July. The schedule can be found here.
Accountable Care in Rural America Act Reintroduced
On June 8, a group of bipartisan representatives reintroduced the Accountable Care in Rural America Act (H.R. 3746), which would amend Title XVIII of the Social Security Act with the objective of improving the benchmarking process for accountable care organizations (ACOs) by removing an organization’s beneficiaries from the calculation of a regional benchmark. The bill was sponsored by Reps. Jodey Arrington (R-TX), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Ami Bera (D-CA), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Terri Sewell (D-AL), Neal Dunn (R-FL) and Lance Gooden (R-TX). Thirteen health stakeholders, including the American Hospital Association, wrote a letter in support of the bill. The letter can be found here.
House Republicans Send Becerra Letter Asking for Greater Investment in COVID-19 Therapies
On June 15, 23 House Republicans sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra requesting further investment, research and development of COVID-19 therapies. Eleven of the 23 Republicans who signed the letter are members of the GOP Doctors Caucus.
Rep. Doggett Introduces Bill to Authorize CMS to Work With Localities to Expand Medicaid Coverage
On June 17, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) introduced the Cover Outstanding Vulnerable Expansion-Eligible Residents (COVER) Now Act, which aims to give the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) the authority to contract directly with counties, cities and other subdivisions to expand Medicaid eligibility with demonstration projects. The bill would give local governments 100 percent of federal funding for the first three years of expansion, with a reduction to 90 percent by the seventh year. The legislation would approve 100 demonstrations for local expansion, and currently has more than 40 Democratic cosponsors.
Rep. Manchin Asks President Biden to Nominate a Permanent FDA Commissioner
On June 17, Rep. Joe Manchin (D-WV) wrote a letter to President Biden urging him to nominate a permanent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner. In the letter, Rep. Manchin stated that the acting commissioner, Dr. Janet Woodcock, is not suited for the role, and cited as evidence the recent FDA decision to approve Aduhelm (aducanumab) to treat Alzheimer’s despite no members of the advisory panel voting in favor. The letter can be found here.
Bipartisan Manufacturing API, Drugs, and Excipients (MADE) in America Act Reintroduced
On June 16, Sens. Tim Scott (R-SC) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV) reintroduced the Manufacturing API, Drugs, and Excipients (MADE) in America Act, which aims to reduce the U.S. pharmaceutical supply chain’s dependence on China. The bill would create a new tax credit that would apply to manufacturers operating in certain “Opportunity Zones” and improve the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) reporting and monitoring efforts. Companion legislation was introduced in the House by Reps. Tom Rice (R-SC) and Darren Soto (D-FL).
Bipartisan Pioneering Antimicrobial Subscriptions to End Upsurging Resistance (PASTEUR) Act Introduced
On June 16, Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Todd Young (R-IN) introduced a revised version of the Pioneering Antimicrobial Subscriptions to End Upsurging Resistance (PASTEUR) Act, which aims to incentivize the development of new antibiotics through a subscription-style reimbursement model for antimicrobial drugs. The bill was revised to include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendations on drugs that target fungi and measures to ensure that the government’s investments are protected if pharmaceutical companies default on their contracts.
Republican Doctors Caucus Members Ask FDA to Research COVID-19 Immunity
On June 17, members of the GOP Doctors Caucus sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging the agency to improve vaccine research to better understand COVID-19 immunity achieved by vaccination or through natural infection. The letter also calls on the FDA to prioritize T-cell tests. Signatories to the letter were Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS), Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL), Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX) and Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), who are all doctors. The letter can be found here.
Read more on healthcare policy in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Washington Healthcare Update.