This Week in Washington: Senate Questions Supreme Court Justice Nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson


Reps. Kind, McKinley, Barragán and Carter Introduce Bill to Expand Medicare Coverage of Pharmacy Services

On March 24, Reps. Ron Kind (D-WI), David McKinley (R-WV), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA) and Buddy” Carter (R-GA) introduced the Equitable Community Access to Pharmacist Services Act. The bill would make it so pharmacy services are covered under Medicare Part B. Services covered would include vaccinations, testing and treatment for COVID-19 and influenza.

Rep. Krishnamoorthi Requests Information from the FDA on HVAD System Device

On March 23, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) wrote to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Robert Califf requesting information on the FDA’s regulation of the heart pump device HeartWare Ventricular Assist Device (HVAD) System. The HVAD System was recalled in June 2021 after being associated with 20,000 patient injuries and 3,000 deaths. In the letter, Rep. Krishnamoorthi, who chairs the House Committee on Oversight’s Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, stated that the FDA failed to protect consumers and did not share knowledge of the device’s defects with other agencies. He called on the FDA to take a more proactive approach to regulating devices.


Senate Passes the Cannabidiol and Marihuana Research Expansion Act

On March 24, the Senate voted unanimously to advance the Cannabidiol and Marihuana Research Expansion Act. The bill, which was introduced by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) would expand research opportunities for institutions and manufacturers with the objective of streamlining development of cannabidiol and marijuana drugs.

Sen. Schumer Says Senate Will Vote on Bipartisan Insulin Bill After Easter Break

On March 23, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) stated that the Senate would vote after the Easter break on a bipartisan bill to cap insulin costs. Legislative negotiations are currently ongoing, with efforts led by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R-ME). Sens. Shaheen and Collins introduced the Insulin Price Reduction Act in 2019, which would restrict rebates for insulins whose manufacturers reduce list prices. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) also introduced a bill to cap consumers’ insulin costs at $35 a month.

Sens. Rosen and Cassidy Introduce Bill to Strengthen Healthcare Cybersecurity

On March 24, Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced the Healthcare Cybersecurity Act. The bill would direct the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to work with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to improve healthcare and public health cybersecurity.

Sens. Sanders and Smith Introduce Bill to Address EMS Staffing

On March 23, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Tina Smith (D-MN) introduced the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Staffing and Support Act. The bill would allocate $500 million to establish a grant program within the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to fund EMS needs. The grant funding would be used to strengthen EMS departments’ capacity to hire and retain personnel and purchase equipment.

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