This week in Washington: Congressional Democrats reach drug pricing agreement; bipartisan infrastructure bill goes to President Biden’s desk with budget reconciliation bill delayed.


House Passes Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, Delays Social Budget Reconciliation Package Bill
On Nov. 6, the House voted 228-206 to pass the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. The bill now goes to President Biden’s desk for his signature. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) delayed voting on the $1.75 trillion budget reconciliation package until the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report on the bill’s spending and revenue is finished. Speaker Pelosi stated that the House will vote on the bill before Thanksgiving.

Drug Pricing Reform Agreement Reached
On Nov. 2, Democratic members in the House and Senate agreed on a prescription drug pricing framework. The plan would allow Medicare to negotiate high-cost prescription drugs, impose a tax penalty for pharmaceutical companies that increase prices faster than inflation and cap Medicare Part D drugs out-of-pocket costs for seniors and people with disabilities at $2,000 a year. The proposal would also cap insulin prices at $35 a month. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scores show that the Medicare drug price controls will save $100 billion and repealing the rebate rule will save $150 billion. The framework can be found here.

Speaker Pelosi Says the Build Back Better Act is Paid For
On Nov. 4, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wrote a Dear Colleague letter stating that the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) issued a report showing that the Build Back Better Act is paid for. She said that the bill would raise $1.5 trillion over 10 years. Speaker Pelosi also stated that the Rules Committee is preparing the Manager’s Amendment to include privilege fixes received from the Senate. The JCT report can be found here. The Dear Colleague letter can be found here.

Reps. Rodgers and Guthrie Release Statement on CMS Vaccine Mandate
On Nov. 4, House Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Health Subcommittee Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY) released a statement in opposition to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) vaccine mandate for Medicare and Medicaid providers. The representatives are considering using the Congressional Review Act as a way to negate the rule. The statement can be found here.


Sens. Baldwin and Braun Introduce Bill to Reduce Anti-Competitive Practices in Healthcare
On Nov. 3, Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Mike Braun (R-IN) introduced the Healthy Competition for Better Care Act, which aims to reduce anti-competitive practices in healthcare. The legislation would prohibit health systems from requiring a payer or employer to contract with an affiliated provider or hospital as a condition of entering into a contract with the healthcare system. The press release with additional information on the bill can be found here.

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