This Week in Washington: Senate Fails to Advance Bill Protecting Abortion Rights After Supreme Court Draft Opinion Leak
House Committee on Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Advances ARPA-H Bill
On May 11, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health voted to advance the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Health (ARPA-H) Act. The bill would house the new ARPA-H agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This differs from HHS’s earlier decision to place ARPA-H in the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
106 House Republicans Call on FDA and President Biden to Act on Baby Formula Shortage
On May 11, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) led a group of 106 House Republicans in a letter to President Biden and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Califf calling for information on the current baby formula shortage and how the administration plans to address it.
100 House Democrats Call on CMS to Ensure Medicaid Provider Choice for Abortion Providers
On May 10, Reps. Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX) and Cori Bush (D-MO) led a group of 100 House Democrats in a letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure calling for CMS to enforce Medicaid’s free choice of provider requirement. The letter claims that a number of states have cut abortion providers out of state Medicaid programs, which violates federal law.
Committees Release Staff Report Detailing Emergent’s Failure to Meet Quality Standards for COVID-19 Vaccines
On May 10, the House Committee on Oversight Reform and the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis released a staff report on their joint investigation of Emergent BioSolutions, Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing failures. The report states that 400 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were destroyed as a result of Emergent’s failure to meet quality standards at its Bayview facility. In addition, the report states that Emergent executives attempted to hide evidence of contamination to evade government oversight efforts.
Reps. McMorris Rodgers and Pallone Introduce Bill to Reauthorize Mental Health and Substance Abuse Programs
On May 6, Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ) introduced the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022. The bill would reauthorize mental health and substance use disorder programs at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
House Committee on Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Advances the Medical User Fee Reauthorization Legislative Package
On May 4, the House Energy and Commerce Committee published the legislative package that would reauthorize the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) medical product user fee programs. The legislative package reauthorizes the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), the Generic Drug User Fee Act (GDUFA), the Biosimilar User Fee Act (BsUFA) and the Medical Device User Fee Act (MDUFA), and will allow the FDA to continue collecting fees from drug and medical device manufacturers. Reauthorization of the user fee programs happens every five years.
On May 11, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health voted unanimously to advance the user fee legislation to the full committee.
Reps. Rodgers, Brady, Crapo and Sen. Burr Write to CMS Expressing Concern with Coverage of Drugs to Treat Alzheimer’s Disease
On May 2, Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) wrote to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) expressing their concern with the agency’s decision to restrict coverage of current and future Alzheimer’s treatments. In the letter, the members express concern that this decision could reduce access to drugs to treat Alzheimer’s and could reduce the investment in research and development.
Sen. Sanders Introduces the Medicare for All Act of 2022
On May 12, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced the Medicare for All Act of 2022. The bill would guarantee healthcare as a fundamental right to all Americans. The bill was cosponsored by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
Senate Fails to Pass Bill That Would Codify Abortion Protections
On May 11, the Senate failed to pass a bill that would ensure abortion rights with a vote of 49-51. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and all Senate Republicans opposed the bill.
Sens. Cassidy and Murphy Introduce Bill to Reauthorize Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Programs
On May 10, Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) introduced the Mental Health Reform Reauthorization Act of 2022. The bill would reauthorize mental health and substance use disorder programs that were created under the Mental Health Reform Act. The programs are currently set to expire in September.
Sens. Schatz and Booker Call on FDA and NIH to Carry Out More Research on the Therapeutic Potential of Psychedelics
On May 10, Sens. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) wrote to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Robert Califf and National Institutes of Health (NIH) Acting Director Lawrence Tabak calling for more research into the potential therapeutic uses of psychedelics.
Read more on healthcare policy in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Washington Healthcare Update.