This Week in Washington: Senate Finance Committee releases draft proposal outline concerning GME program; Senate HELP Committee marks up seven healthcare bills; NIH issues first-of-its-kind policy proposal to promote equal access to drugs, devices, vaccines and biologics that stem from NIH-owned inventions.

House

House Ways and Means and Budget Committee Chairmen Request Budgetary Analysis on Permanent AHA Enhanced Tax Credits

On May 17, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) and House Budget Committee Chairman Jodey Arrington (R-TX) sent a letter to Congressional Budget Office Director Phillip L. Swagel and Joint Committee on Taxation Chief of Staff Thomas A. Barthold requesting an analysis on the budgetary effects of making permanent the Affordable Care Act (ACA) premium tax credits. The chairmen are requesting an analysis on the:

  • Budgetary effects on outlays, revenues and the deficit for each fiscal year in the 10-year budget window, as well as the cumulative five and 10-year estimates;
  • Change in Americans’ sources of health coverage, including the number of individuals who would no longer have employer-sponsored insurance over the 10-year window;
  • Percentage of the new ACA premium tax credit spending, if the policy was made permanent, that would go to households with incomes above 400 percent of the federal poverty level for coverage years beginning Jan. 1, 2025 and ending Jan. 1, 2035; and
  • Average value of the premium tax credits for new marketplace enrollees under the policy and the average tax benefit of the employer-sponsored insurance tax exclusion for a person projected to no longer enroll in employment-based coverage under the policy.

For more information, click here.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Health Holds Hearing on FDA Regulation of Drugs, Biologics and Devices

On May 22, the House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Health held a hearing to examine the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) regulation of drug, biologics and medical devices. Members discussed rare-disease drug regulation, the FDA laboratory-developed test final rule, accelerated approval pathway and prescription drug user fee amendments. Witnesses were:

  • Patricia Cavazzoni, M.D., Director of the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research
  • Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research
  • Jeff Shuren, M.D., J.D., Director of the FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health

For more information, click here.

House Ways and Means Committee Subcommittee on Health Holds Hearing on Independent Medicine Challenges

On May 23, the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing to examine the challenges independent physicians and practices face when providing care. Members discussed the impacts of prior authorization, workforce shortages, Medicare physician fee schedule reimbursements and the role of private equity in healthcare. Witnesses were:

  • Jennifer Gholson, MD, Family Practitioner, Summit
  • Timothy Richardson, MD, Independent Physician, Wichita Urology
  • Chris Kean, COO, The San Antonio Orthopaedic Group
  • Seemal Desai, MD, Founder, Innovative Dermatology
  • Ashish Jha, MD, Dean of the Brown School of Public Health

For more information, click here.

Senate

Senate Finance Committee Releases Draft Proposal Outline Concerning GME Program

On May 24, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Ranking Member Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Sens. Cornyn (R-TX), Menendez (D-NJ), Bennet (D-CO), Tillis (R-NC), Cortez-Masto (D-NV) and Blackburn (R-TN) released a draft proposal outline concerning the graduate medical education (GME) program. The outline includes proposals that aim to improve the GME program and:

  • Expand and improve the distribution of Medicare-supported GME residency training positions to rural areas and specialties in shortage;
  • Support rural hospitals with the infrastructure needed to facilitate residency training programs; and
  • Improve data collection to ensure federal GME funds are being used to train in specialties and areas facing physician shortages.

For more information, click here.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sends Letter Concerning Fraudulent Enrollments

On May 21, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent a letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure concerning fraudulent Marketplace plan enrollments. The chairman is urging CMS to:

  • Enforce civil monetary penalties on brokers who submit fraudulent enrollments;
  • Strengthen its oversight of direct enrollment entity policies and business practices; and
  • Proactively inform consumers who may have been impacted.

For more information, click here.

Senate HELP Committee Marks Up Seven Healthcare Bills

On May 23, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee marked up and reported out of committee seven healthcare bills that will reauthorize programs concerning Alzheimer’s disease, caregiver respite care, poison control centers and emergency medical services for children. The bills were: S. 3679, Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Reauthorization Act: Reauthorizes the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Act through fiscal year 2029 to promote the use of mental health and substance use disorder services by healthcare providers. S. 3765, Emergency Medical Services for Children Reauthorization Act of 2024: Reauthorizes the Emergency Medical Services for Children program through fiscal year 2029. S. 4351, Poison Control Centers Reauthorization Act: Reauthorizes certain poison control programs through fiscal year 2029. S. 3775, BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Reauthorization Act of 2024: Reauthorizes the Building Our Largest Dementia Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act through fiscal year 2029. S. 4325, Lifespan Respite Care Act: Reauthorizes the Lifespan Respite Care program through fiscal year 2029. S. 3757, Congenital Heart Futures Reauthorization Act of 2024: Reauthorizes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Congenital Heart Disease, Research, Surveillance and Awareness Program through fiscal year 2029. S. 4045, East Palestine Health Impact Monitoring Act of 2024: Requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to award a grant, contract or cooperative agreement to an eligible entity to study the public health impacts resulting from the February 2023 train derailment in East Palestine, OH. In addition, the committee reported out of committee the nomination of Stephen H. Ravas to become Inspector General of the Corporation for National and Community Service. For more information, click here.

Senate Finance Committee Holds Hearing on OUD Prevention and Treatment

On May 23, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing to examine opioid use disorder (OUD) prevention and treatment strategies. Members discussed the importance of school-based OUD services and ensuring that incarcerated individuals maintain Medicaid coverage and access to OUD treatments. Witnesses were:

  • Tony Vezina, Executive Director, 4th Dimension Recovery Center (4D)
  • Jeanmarie Perrone, MD, Director, Center for Addition Medicine and Policy, University of Pennsylvania
  • Caleb J. Banta-Green, Ph.D., MPH, MSW, Research Professor, University of Washington School of Medicine
  • Abigail J. Herron, DO, Vice President and Chief Behavioral Health Officer, The Institute for Family Health

For more information, click here.

Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing on Prescription Drug Market Competition

On May 21, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on prescription drug market competition, accessibility and affordability. Members discussed the need to address improper drug patents and called on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to schedule floor votes on bills reported out of the committee concerning patent reforms and generic and biosimilar access. Witnesses were:

  • William Feldman, MD, DPhil, MPH, Associate Physician, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • David Mitchell, President and Founder, Patients for Affordable Drugs
  • Adam Mossoff, Professor of Law, George Mason Antonin Scalia Law School
  • Arti Rai, Elvin R. Duke Law Elvin R. Latty Distinguished Professor of Law
  • Jocelyn Ulrich, Vice President of Policy and Research, PhRMA

For more information, click here.

Sen. Paul Introduces CRA Resolution that Would Overturn LDT Final Rule

On May 17, Sen. Paul (R-KY) introduced a Congressional Review Act resolution that would overturn the Food and Drug Administration’s laboratory-developed test rule. A companion resolution was introduced in the House by Rep. Finstad (R-MN). For more information, click here.

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