Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

Below is this week’s “Capitol Hill Healthcare Update,” which is posted on Mondays when Congress is in session.

GRASSLEY CONFIRMS DELAY ON DRUG BILL WHILE ANOTHER COMMITTEE PLANS VOTES

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, last week confirmed that his planned drug pricing legislation won’t be unveiled until after lawmakers return from a the Fourth of July recess.

But Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is pressing ahead with a vote this month on legislation that aims to thwart “anti-competitive use of patents” that prevent generic drug and biosimilar competition. The bill by Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., would authorize the Federal Trade Commission to step in if “patent tickets” are being used to stifle generic competition. Continue Reading

The Weekly Hill Update

Below is the Federal Policy team’s weekly preview, posted when Congress is in session.

HEADLINES

• The House will continue working on appropriations bills, while the Senate continues voting on President Donald Trump’s nominees and begins consideration of the annual defense policy legislation.

• Both chambers may address the migrant emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border.

• Trump will officially launch his reelection campaign and will host Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for meetings as the leaders seek ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. Continue Reading

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

Below is this week’s “Capitol Hill Healthcare Update,” which is posted on Mondays when Congress is in session.

GRASSLEY DRUG PRICING BILL LIKELY DELAYED UNTIL JULY

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, had hoped his panel could vote on legislation this month to tackle prescription drug prices and lower seniors’ out-of-pocket costs for medicine, but committee action on his still-under-development bill is likely to slip to July.

Separately, Grassley told reporters last week that his legislation would require prescription drug manufacturers to pay a greater percentage of seniors’ drug costs under Medicare Part D. He also said his bill would allow generic manufacturers to gain access to drugs protected by the FDA’s risk evaluation and mitigation strategy safety program.

The chairman also spoke favorably of merging his legislation with elements of a proposal backed by Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., that aims to reduce overall healthcare costs. Alexander’s bill includes narrow drug pricing initiatives; Grassley’s bill is expected to be more sweeping. Continue Reading

The Weekly Hill Update

Washington D.C. The capitol, the seat of the government of the United States.Below is the Federal Policy team’s weekly preview, published when Congress is in session.

HEADLINES

• The House plans to vote on a contempt resolution against Attorney General William Barr and former White House Counsel Don McGahn for failing to reply to subpoenas.

• President Donald Trump will visit a renewable energy plant in Iowa and will host the president of Poland in Washington.

• Washington is regrouping after another wild week, as an apparent deal with Mexico over stemming migration flows eased tensions that Trump had ratcheted up with the threat of tariffs, which had been scheduled to take effect today. Continue Reading

The Weekly Hill Update

Washington D.C. The capitol, the seat of the government of the United States.Below is the Federal Policy team’s weekly preview, published when Congress is in session.

HEADLINES

• President Trump is headed to Europe, where he will meet with Queen Elizabeth II, outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May, and French President Emmanuel Macron.

• The House plans to take up a disaster relief package after Republican members blocked its passage before last week’s recess.

• The Senate will vote on a variety of Trump’s judicial and administrative nominees. Continue Reading

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

Below is this week’s “Capitol Hill Healthcare Update,” which is posted on Mondays when Congress is in session. Note that because Congress will be in recess for the Memorial Day holiday, the next “Capitol Hill Healthcare Update” will be posted on June 3.

LAWMAKERS QUESTION DEMOCRATS’ STRATEGY ON DRUG PRICING

House Democrats last week combined bipartisan bills designed to lower drug prices with controversial legislation related to the Affordable Care Act, prompting Democratic and Republican lawmakers to question whether party leaders are committed to bipartisan solutions to control drug costs.

By combining the two issues in one bill, the legislation won House approval but on a near-party line vote. Republicans accused Democrats of being more interested in politics than consensus on lowering drug prices.

Even some Democrats questioned their leaders’ strategy and raised fresh doubt about whether House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., would be willing to forge a bipartisan agreement on drug prices that would allow President Donald Trump to claim at least a partial victory ahead of his re-election campaign in 2020. Continue Reading

The Weekly Hill Update

Washington D.C. The capitol, the seat of the government of the United States.Below is the Federal Policy team’s weekly preview, published when Congress is in session.

HEADLINES

• President Donald Trump will meet with Democratic congressional leaders to discuss infrastructure.
• The Senate plans to take up a disaster relief package and continue processing judicial nominees.
• The House will take up bipartisan legislation to promote retirement savings. Continue Reading

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

Below is this week’s “Capitol Hill Healthcare Update,” which is posted on Mondays when Congress is in session.

HOUSE TO VOTE ON BILL COMBINING ACA, DRUG PRICING PROVISIONS

The House is scheduled to vote on legislation Thursday that would package new funding for state-based marketplaces and enrollment outreach efforts under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), with provisions designed to lower prescription drug prices.

Some of the drug pricing provisions enjoyed bipartisan support when considered earlier this year in the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Judiciary Committee. But House Republicans aren’t expected to support the overall bill because of the ACA funding and provisions that would roll back the Trump administration’s plan to lower insurance premiums for healthier Americans, which Democrats have derided as “junk” insurance plans. Continue Reading

The Weekly Hill Update

Washington D.C. The capitol, the seat of the government of the United States.Below is the Federal Policy team’s weekly preview, published when Congress is in session.

HEADLINES

• The House will take up a legislative package aiming to shore up the Affordable Care Act and address prescription drug costs.

• President Donald Trump will host Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban at the White House.

• Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in Russia, where he will meet Tuesday with Vladimir Putin.

HOUSE

  • The House is in session Tuesday through Friday. The agenda includes a legislative package on health insurance and drug costs, as well as Democrats’ Equality Act.
  • Appropriations season is in full swing, as three subcommittees mark up fiscal 2020 spending bills.
  • The full list of this week’s House committee activity can be found here.

SENATE

  • The Senate will consider several Trump judicial nominees.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday will hold a hearing on 5G network technology.
  • The current list of Senate committee activity can be found here.

WHITE HOUSE

  • Trump today will host the Hungarian prime minister at the White House.
  • Trump on Tuesday will tour a liquefied natural gas export facility and speak on energy infrastructure.
  • Pompeo is visiting Russia for the first time as secretary of state, and Tuesday he will meet with Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

Below is this week’s “Capitol Hill Healthcare Update,” which is posted on Mondays when Congress is in session.

TRUMP, DEMOCRATIC LEADERS TO MEET ON DRUG PRICES

During a White House meeting last week on infrastructure policy, President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Sen. Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., agreed to meet in the future to discuss drug pricing legislation.

A date for that meeting hasn’t been finalized, but Democrats aren’t waiting to move bills on drug prices.

House Democrats are teeing up legislation that would make it easier for generic drug manufacturers to gain access to brand-name drugs protected under the FDA’s high-risk safety program. Legislation ending “pay-for-delay” patent settlements also has been approved by a key healthcare committee. Continue Reading

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