The House continued its efforts in addressing the current challenges in the healthcare industry on Wednesday during a testy and fiery hearing in the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee. The subcommittee approved 12 bills, six that attempt to bolster the Affordable Care Act and another six regarding drug pricing. |
The six bills passed by the subcommittee on party line votes include H.R. 1385, a bill that would provide $200 million annually for state based market places, H.R.1386 to provide $100 million to the federal navigator program, H.R.987 to restore ACA outreach and enrollment funding, H.R.986 that aims to reverse Trump Administration policies that sponsors say weaken protections for patients with preexisting conditions, and H.R.1010 that would reverse the Administration's expansion of short-term health plans. NAHU was pleased to see H.R.1425, a bill to re-establish a reinsurance fund, pass out of the subcommittee. NAHU has been tirelessly working with Rep. Scott Peters (CA) and Rep. Angie Craig (MN) on this piece of legislation. We hope to garner bipartisan support on the bill as it moves forward.
The subcommittee also addressed drug pricing with H.R. 938, which would limit first-approved generic makers’ ability to delay other rivals onto the market, H.R. 1520 and H.R. 1503, which provide generic and biosimilar makers more information through FDA databases about the patents on branded products, and H.R. 1781, a bill boosting advisory committees access to pricing and rebate data. All four of these bills passed the subcommittee on a bipartisan basis.
Republicans had qualms with H.R. 1499, which bans branded drug makers from paying generic manufacturers from keeping their products off the market for periods of time, but it ultimately did make it out of the Democratic-led subcommittee. Lastly, H.R. 965, known as the CREATES act, which would penalize brand-name drug manufactures that withhold sample products from generic makers citing safety concerns, made it out of the committee despite Republican objections. GOP members on the panel argued that it could create an incentive for generic drug makers to bring unnecessary lawsuits against branded manufactures. E&C Chair Frank Pallone (NJ) argued that the GOP’s proposed limits on the penalties would make the law ineffective.