This week in Washington: Infrastructure talks continue, Labor HHS Appropriations bill clears House Committee and is on the way to the floor.


Reps. Guthrie and Nunes Announce Panels as Part of Healthy Future Task Force
On July 19, Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Devin Nunes (R-CA) announced the Healthy Future Task Force’s five health panels, which will focus on lowering health care costs, increasing access to therapies and medical devices, strengthening U.S. supply chains, increasing care choices and expanding providers available. The Healthy Future Task Force, which was announced by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) in June, will create legislative proposals and lay out the Republican health care agenda. Each of the panels will have one chair and two members, and the membership is listed below.

  • The Security Panel will be chaired by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), with Reps. Jim Banks (R-IN) and Tom Cole (R-OK) as members.
  • The Affordability Panel will be chaired by Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK), with Reps. Rick Allen (R-GA) and Victoria Spartz (R-IN) as members.
  • The Treatment Panel will be chaired by Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), with Reps. John Joyce (R-PA) and Bruce Westerman (R-AR) as members.
  • The Doctor/Patient Relationship Panel will be chaired by Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN), with Reps. Greg Murphy (R-NC) and Beth Van Duyne (R-TX) as members.
  • The Modernization Panel will be chaired by Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), with Reps. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) and Mike Kelly (R-PA) as members.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Advances Health Care Bills
On July 21, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a markup of 24 bills. The following health care bills were approved by the committee and will go next to the House for a vote.

  • H.R. 4369, the “National Centers of Excellence in Advanced and Continuous Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Act”
  • H.R. 654, the “Drug-Free Communities Pandemic Relief Act”
  • H.R. 2051, the “Methamphetamine Response Act of 2021”
  • H.R. 2379, the “State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act of 2021”
  • H.R. 2364, the “Synthetic Opioid Danger Awareness Act”
  • H.R. 2355, the “Opioid Prescription Verification Act of 2021”
  • H.R. 4026, the “Social Determinants of Health Data Analysis Act of 2021”
  • H.R. 3743, the “Supporting the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health and the Reagan-Udall Foundation for the Food and Drug Administration Act”
  • H.R. 550, the “Immunization Infrastructure Modernization Act”
  • H.R. 1550, the “Promoting Resources to Expand Vaccination, Education, and New Treatments for HPV Cancers Act of 2021” or the “PREVENT HPV Cancers Act of 2021”
  • H.R. 951, the “Maternal Vaccination Act”
  • H.R. 4387, the “Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act of 2021”
  • H.R. 3742, the “Vaccine Information for Nursing Facility Operators Act” or the “Vaccine INFO Act”
  • H.R. 2347, the “Strengthening the Vaccines for Children Act of 2021”
  • H.R. 3894, the “Collecting and Analyzing Resources Integral and Necessary for Guidance for Social Determinants Act of 2021” or the “CARING for Social Determinants Act of 2021”
  • H.R. 4406, the “Supporting Medicaid in the U.S. Territories Act”

The markup page can be found here.

New Congressional Social Determinants of Health Caucus Requests Input
On July 21, Reps. Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Tom Cole (R-OK), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) and Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) launched the Congressional Social Determinants of Health Caucus. The caucus will highlight opportunities to address social determinants of health such as food, housing and transportation. The caucus requests feedback from stakeholders and members of Congress before Sept. 21.


Senators Leahy and Daines Request Update on Expanded FTC and DOJ Antitrust Authorities in the Health Insurance Market
On July 20, Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Steve Daines (R-MT) wrote a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan regarding the expansion of FTC and Department of Justice (DOJ) antitrust authorities over the health insurance industry. The Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act (CHIRA) of 2020, which recently went into effect, repeals the McCarran-Ferguson Act’s antitrust exemption for the health insurance industry. In the letter, the senators request additional information on how DOJ and FTC have exercised their expanded antitrust authorities. The letter can be found here.

Bipartisan Group of Sens. and Reps. Write to HHS Secretary and CMS Administrator Expressing Concern with OPO Rule Timeline
On July 20, a bipartisan group consisting of members of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Oversight and Reform Committee wrote to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, voicing their support of the CMS Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) Conditions for Coverage Final Rule. The letter requests that CMS consider ways to accelerate the Final Rule’s implementation. The letter was signed by Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Todd Young (R-IN), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), James Comer (R-KY), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Michael Cloud (R-TX) and Katie Porter (D-CA). The letter can be found here.

Read more on healthcare policy in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Washington Healthcare Update.