United States: Capitol Hill Healthcare Update

Upton Acknowledges 'Cures' Stalled

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) acknowledged publicly last week what has been widely suspected on Capitol Hill – his "21st Century Cures" medical innovation legislation will not pass Congress before the November elections. Upton had hoped to push through even a scaled-back version. But lack of consensus over how to pay for new National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Cancer Moonshot funding as well as limited legislative time available this month in the Senate conspired to sink Cures before the elections. One senior Republican committee member last week said the House may vote in September on its version of the bill, with the Senate voting after the election. But even that plan may not happen as lawmakers rush to exit Washington and campaign for re-election.

Congress Looks To Avoid Shutdown, Fund Zika Efforts

The congressional leadership in both parties met with President Obama Monday to try to hammer out an agreement that keeps the government funded beyond the Sept. 30 expiration of the 2016 fiscal year.

A sticking point has been funding to combat the spread of the Zika virus. Lawmakers are expected to agree on a stopgap budget bill that would keep the government open until mid-December, when Congress will reconvene for a post-election lame duck voting session.

Lawmakers Praise MACRA 'Flexibility'

Bipartisan healthcare leaders in the House last week praised CMS's announcement that it would allow physicians more flexibility in complying with new MACRA reporting data next year. By providing flexibility for doctors and other healthcare providers, the CMS announcement will allow doctors to prioritize patient care instead of focusing on burdensome paperwork, according to a joint statement by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). The top Democrats on those committees also issued positive statements. CMS Acting administrator Andy Slavitt outlined four options for doctors to comply with MACRA in a blog post last week.

Lawmakers Urge Hearings on Device Safety Issues

Two House lawmakers are calling on a key healthcare committee to examine an FDA "struggling" to protect patient health and safety. "Congress cannot ignore the voices of those harmed by unsafe medical devices," according to a draft letter by Reps. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Louise Slaughter (D-NY), both long-time critics of the medical technology industry and the FDA's device center. The letter is addressed to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). It is not expected that Upton's panel will hold such a hearing before Congress adjourns this year.

Hatch: Drug Prices 'Major Issue' In 2017

One of the pharmaceutical industry's champions on Capitol Hill, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), acknowledged last week that drug prices will be a "major issue" the new Congress debates in 2017. Hatch, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, made the comment as Mylan Pharmaceuticals' pricing for EpiPen sparked a new round of bipartisan industry criticism over drug pricing. Congress next year will debate the pharmaceutical industry's user fee authorization, which expires next September and could become an attractive target for drug-pricing provisions adverse to the industry.

Votes Scheduled on Public Health Bills

The House Energy and Commerce Committee this week is scheduled to vote on a series of public health bills, including legislation that would boost research for sickle cell disease, evaluate diabetes' impact on healthcare costs, and seek to improve treatments for those suffering from an inherited blood disorder. Each of the bills is non-controversial and was approved last week by the panel's health subcommittee.

One bill, by Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX), would establish a National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop strategies to boost clinical care for individuals with diabetes, pre-diabetes and chronic conditions caused by the disease.

Ryan Says No To ACA Tinkering

With Aetna the latest insurer to curtail selling policies on the Affordable Care Act exchanges, congressional Republicans are continuing their election-year focus on the need to repeal the law, not try to make it better. "No amount of tinkering around the margins is going to salvage Obamacare from collapsing under its own weight," House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) told reporters last week. "It basically doesn't even feel like you have insurance anymore because your deductibles are so high, not to mention double-digit premium increases that families are getting socked with." Separately, the two committees in the Republican-controlled House will hold hearings this week examining premium increases from ACA marketplace insurers.

Part B Demo Could Complicate 'Cures' Passage

A scaled-down version of the medical innovation legislation known as "21st Century Cures" would increase spending on NIH, the Cancer Moonshot program and other initiatives by about $6 billion over 10 years. Blocking CMS's controversial plan to overhaul drug reimbursements under Medicare Part B carries a bigger price tag – more than $30 billion. Increasingly, the pharmaceutical industry sees blocking the near-nationwide Part B demo as its highest legislative priority. Even manufacturers with a portfolio heavy with Part D drugs see killing the pilot as a priority as Democratic lawmakers and some consumer groups say CMS's next demo should target Part D drugs.

To avoid increasing the deficit – and to comply with Congress' budget rules – lawmakers must offset spending increases with reductions in current spending. So killing the CMS pilot would come with a hefty price tag, including offsets that likely would impact the drug industry. Rather than helping to offset Cures' new spending – which the industry believes is of limited near-term benefit – PhRMA lobbyists want to target offsets toward overturning the Part B pilot and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation's ability to develop a Part D demo. Congress won't move to block the demo before October, when lawmakers will adjourn for the elections. But it could be considered in a post-election lame-duck voting session in December.

House Panel Examines Part A

The House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee last week held a hearing to examine the evolution of quality in Medicare Part A, specifically whether existing Medicare policies are giving hospitals enough incentives to deliver high-quality, cost-efficient care. "Breaking down barriers to innovation in Medicare will improve the program for beneficiaries and ensure limited taxpayer dollars are being spent efficiently," subcommittee Chairman Pat Tiberi (R-OH) said.

Mylan Faces House Hearing

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) said his panel will likely hold a hearing examining Mylan Pharmaceuticals' price increases for its EpiPen emergency allergy treatment. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) also said the company's responses to his recent requests for information on the price increases were insufficient, increasing the possibility that Grassley's committee may hold hearings, too.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.