Congressional Hearing on Government Response to Ebola Crisis (Nov. 6)

On November 6, 2014, the Senate Appropriations Committee is holding a hearing on the U.S. government response to the Ebola outbreak. This follows an October 24 House Oversight Committee hearing on coordination of a multi-agency response to the Ebola crisis, along with an October 16 House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the U.S. public health response to the Ebola outbreak.

Upcoming House Hearings to Address ACA Implementation, Accelerating Medical Innovation

On September 9, 2014, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health is holding a hearing entitled “21st Century Cures: Examining the Regulation of Laboratory Developed Tests.” The hearing will focus on the FDA’s recent guidance on the regulation of lab developed tests and its “impact on innovation and the practice of precision medicine.” The panel will also host a “roundtable” discussion September 10 at which HHS Secretary Burwell, NIH Director Collins, FDA Commissioner Hamburg, and other experts will address opportunities to accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of new cures and treatments. In addition, two hearings are scheduled on ACA implementation. On September 10, the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health will review ACA Marketplace administration, including verification of tax credit eligibility. On September 18, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will address Healthcare.gov transparency, accountability, and information security.

House Panel to Examine FDA Lab-Developed Test Policy

On September 9, 2014, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health is holding a hearing entitled “21st Century Cures: Examining the Regulation of Laboratory Developed Tests.” The hearing will focus on the FDA’s recent guidance on the regulation of lab developed tests and its “impact on innovation and the practice of precision medicine.”

Senate Aging Committee Calls for Medicare Audit, Local Coverage Policy Reforms

The Senate Aging Committee has released a staff report entitled “Improving Audits: How We Can Strengthen the Medicare Program for Future Generations.”  The report describes the burden audits can impose on providers, and raises concerns that CMS’s current efforts are “aimed more at identifying and recovering improper payments that have already occurred, rather than a proactive strategy to ensure that those errors are not made in the first place.” For instance, the Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) contingency fee structure “could be viewed as providing an incentive to keep improper payment rates high.” The report also notes that inconsistent local coverage determinations (LCDs) can increase the burden on providers and contractors, since different rules apply depending on the location of the service provided. Moreover LCDs have not been targeted to the most costly, highly-utilized services in a consistent way and may lead to discrepancies in access to care based on the beneficiary’s location. The report includes a series of recommendations for reforms of the audit and local coverage decision processes, including consolidating post-payment review activities; revising the RAC incentive structure to focus on reduced improper payment rates; assessing the effectiveness of pre-payment review processes; improving provider education; and ensuring that LCDs are targeted and do not create inconsistent access to care. The report was issued in connection with a hearing on improving the Medicare audit program.

July Congressional Health Policy Hearings

Congressional panels have held numerous hearings on health policy issues this month, including the following:

  • The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a series of hearings on its “21st Century Cures” initiative, focusing on personalized medicine, barriers to evidence development and communication, technological innovations, the patient perspective, and modernizing clinical trials. A separate hearing focused on ACA’s insurance eligibility verification system. Coming up, the Committee will examine plan “bailouts” and cancellations under the ACA (July 28) and the status of ACA payment and verification systems (July 31).
  • The Ways and Means Committee held hearings on the integrity of the ACA’s premium tax credit verification system and the future of Medicare Advantage health plans.
  • The House Oversight Committee held a hearing on Medicare appeals reform.
  • The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee examined “Policies to Spur Innovative Medical Breakthroughs from Laboratories to Patients.” 
  • A Senate Finance Committee hearing focused on chronic illness and patients’ unmet needs.
  • The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee examined preventable deaths and improving patient safety. The Committee also approved a number of bipartisan bills, including S. 315, the "Paul D. Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Community Assistance, Research and Education Amendments; S 2154, the Emergency Medical Services for Children Reauthorization Act; S. 2405, the Trauma Systems and Regionalization of Emergency Care Reauthorization Act; S. 2406, the Improving Trauma Care Act; and S. 2539, the Traumatic Brain Injury Reauthorization Act.

Congressional Hearings Examine Medicare Fraud, ACA, Digital Health, MedPAC Report, Brain Injuries

Recent Congressional hearings on health policy issues include the following:

House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee Approves Health Bills

On May 28, 2014 the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health approved by voice vote three bipartisan public health bills:

  • H.R. 4299, “Improving Regulatory Transparency for New Medical Therapies Act,” which is intended to improve the Drug Enforcement Agency scheduling process for new FDA-approved drugs under the Controlled Substances Act and the registration process for the use of controlled substances in clinical trials to allow treatments to get to patients in a more timely and predictable manner.
  • H.R. 4709, “Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act,” which would amend the Controlled Substances Act to clarify definitions, allow parties to submit a corrective action plan prior to revocation or suspension of a registration, and require a report identifying how collaboration between agencies and stakeholders can benefit patient access to medications and prevent diversion and abuse of controlled substances.
  • H.R. 4631, “Combating Autism Reauthorization Act of 2014,” which would continue autism-related federal research, early identification and intervention, education, and activities of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee.

Congressional Health Policy Hearings

A number of Congressional panels have focused on following health policy issues recently, including the following:

  • The House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee examined various Medicare hospital issues, including the CMS two-midnights policy, short inpatient stays, outpatient observation stays, Recovery Audit Contractor audits, and the appeals backlog.
  • The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on two bills that seek to equalize payments between different providers: (1) the Medicare Patient Access to Cancer Treatment Act of 2014, which would establish payment parity under the Medicare program for ambulatory cancer care services furnished in the hospital outpatient department and the physician office setting; and (2) the Bundling and Coordinating Post-Acute Care (BACPAC) Act of 2014, which would provide bundled payments for post-acute care services under Medicare Parts A and B.
  • The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held hearings entitled "Examining the Federal Response to Autism Spectrum Disorders" and "Medicare Mismanagement: Oversight of the Federal Government Effort to Recapture Misspent Funds."
  • The Senate Special Committee on Aging focused on the role of health care providers in advance care planning.
  • The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee examined the ACA minimum medical loss ratio (MLR) requirements, which requires health insurers to provide rebates to consumers if the plans do not spend sufficient proportion of premium dollars on medical care.
     

House Panel to Consider Bundled Post-Acute Care, Cancer Care Payment Parity Bills

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has scheduled a May 21 hearing entitled “Keeping the Promise: Site of Service Medicare Payment Reforms,” which will focus on two bills that seek to equalize payments between different providers:

  • The Medicare Patient Access to Cancer Treatment Act of 2014, which would establish payment parity under the Medicare program for ambulatory cancer care services furnished in the hospital outpatient department and the physician office setting.
  • The Bundling and Coordinating Post-Acute Care (BACPAC) Act of 2014, which would provide bundled payments for post-acute care services under Medicare Parts A and B.

The Committee will examine whether such proposals can save money for beneficiaries and the Medicare program without compromising quality of care.

House Panel to Examine Medicare Hospital Issues (May 20)

On May 20, the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee is holding a hearing on current Medicare hospital issues, including the CMS two-midnights policy, short inpatient stays, outpatient observation stays, Recovery Audit Contractor audits, and the appeals backlog.

Senate Finance Committee Schedules Hearing on Burwell HHS Nomination

The Senate Finance Committee has scheduled a May 14, 2014 hearing to consider the nomination of Sylvia Burwell to be HHS Secretary.  This follows a May 8 Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on the nomination. 

Congressional Committees to Consider HHS Secretary Nomination, HHS Budget, ACA Implementation, Cancer Research

The Senate Appropriations Committee has scheduled a May 7, 2014 hearing to review the Administration’s FY 2015 budget request for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Also on May 7, the House Energy and Commerce Oversight Subcommittee will examine the status of health insurance enrollment under the ACA, and the Senate Aging Committee will focus on cancer research. On May 8, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has scheduled a hearing on the nomination of Sylvia Burwell to be HHS Secretary.

Congressional Hearings this Week to Focus on Medicare Fraud, Telehealth

On Wednesday, April 30, 2014, the House Ways and Means Committee will focus on “Ideas to Improve Medicare Oversight to Reduce Waste, Fraud and Abuse." On May 1, the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee is holding a hearing on “Telehealth to Digital Medicine: How 21st Century Technology Can Benefit Patients."

April Congressional Hearings

Recent Congressional hearings on health policy issues include the following:

  • House Energy and Commerce Committee hearings on the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act”; the FDA’s proposed changes to generic drug labeling; and legislation intended to improve predictability and transparency in Drug Enforcement Agency and FDA regulation (H.R. 4299, H.R. 4069, and H.R. 4250).
  • House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee hearing on final Treasury Department regulations implementing the employer mandate and employer information reporting requirement provisions of the ACA..

In addition, on April 9, 2014, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is holding a hearing on “Addressing Primary Care Access and Workforce Challenges: Voices from the Field.”

March Congressional Health Policy Hearings

Congressional panels continue to hold hearings to address various health policy issues, including the following:

Congressional Health Policy Hearings

 A number of Congressional committees have held hearings recently to address various health policy issues, including the following:

House Panel, GAO Examine Drug Shortages

On February 10, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing entitled “Examining Drug Shortages and Recent Efforts to Address Them.” In connection with the hearing, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report that concluded that the number of shortages remains high, even though the FDA has taken steps to prevent and mitigate shortages (e.g., expediting application reviews and inspections, exercising enforcement discretion in appropriate cases, and helping manufacturers respond to quality problems). Some of the causes of shortages are beyond the agency’s authority, however, since the FDA “does not have control over private companies’ business decisions,” and cannot, for example, require manufacturers to start producing or continue producing drugs, or to build redundant manufacturing capacity. Nevertheless, the GAO called on the FDA to strengthen its internal controls over its drug shortage data, conduct periodic analyses to routinely and systematically assess drug shortage information, and use this information to proactively identify drug shortage risk factors.

Congressional Health Policy Hearings

Recent Congressional hearings have addressed a number of health policy issues, including the following:

House Panel to Examine Medicare "Extenders" Policy

On January 9, 2014, the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee is holding a hearing on “The Extenders Policies: What Are They and How Should They Continue Under a Permanent SGR (Sustainable Growth Rate) Repeal Landscape?” The so-called extenders are measures that secure the continuation of various temporary Medicare payment and policy revisions impacting hospitals, physicians, therapy providers, and certain other provider types that are routinely extended by Congress (most recently as part of the Pathway for SGR Reform Act).

Senate Finance Committee Schedules SGR Markup

On December 12, 2013, the Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to take up legislation to repeal the Medicare PFS sustainable growth rate formula and extend certain expiring health care provisions. While the current Congressional calendar leaves little time to address the latest round of SGR cuts before they take effect on January 1, 2014 (as discussed above), Congress may provide a short-term patch to provide additional time to consider more sweeping overhaul legislation. This situation is still very fluid, however, and the timing and scope of ultimate legislative action is still uncertain.

Older Entries

December 10, 2013 — Congressional Hearings Examine ACA Insurance Developments and Other Health Policies

November 25, 2013 — Congressional Panels Continue Focus on ACA Insurance Enrollment, Security, and Cost Issues, and Other Health Policy Topics

November 14, 2013 — Congressional Hearings Focus on HealthCare.gov Enrollment, Other Policy Issues

September 16, 2013 — Upcoming House Hearings on ACA Implementation (Sept. 18 & 19)

September 16, 2013 — Congressional Health Policy Hearings

July 29, 2013 — July Health Policy Hearings

July 29, 2013 — HIV Organ Policy Equity Act Advances

July 3, 2013 — House Panel Invites Comments on Draft SGR Reform Legislation

June 27, 2013 — Health Policy Hearings

June 11, 2013 — Health Policy Hearings

June 5, 2013 — House SGR Reform Efforts Continue - Hearing Today

May 10, 2013 — Congressional Health Policy Hearings & Markups

April 24, 2013 — Lawmakers Float Draft Drug Distribution Security Plan; Comment Opportunity

April 15, 2013 — April Congressional Health Policy Hearings & Markups

March 28, 2013 — Congressional Health Policy Hearings

March 27, 2013 — Senate HELP Committee Approves Organ Transplant, Animal Drug User Fee Bills

March 12, 2013 — Congressional Hearings

February 18, 2013 — February Congressional Health Policy Hearings & Markups

February 11, 2013 — House Panel Hearing to Focus on Physician Payment/SGR Reform (Feb. 14)

January 30, 2013 — House Energy and Commerce Committee Approves GME, Pediatric Research, and EMT Bills

January 30, 2013 — Senate HELP Committee Hold Hearings on Mental Health, Primary Care

December 17, 2012 — December Congressional Hearings and Markups

December 5, 2012 — House Panel Schedules Hearing on Implementation of ACA's Exchanges and Medicaid Expansion (Dec. 13)

November 29, 2012 — GAO Assesses CMS Fraud Prevention System Implementation

November 12, 2012 — November Congressional Health Policy Hearings

September 27, 2012 — Congressional Health Policy Hearings

September 11, 2012 — Aging Committee Hearing on Physician Payments Sunshine Act (Sept. 12)

September 5, 2012 — Congressional Hearings

July 31, 2012 — Congressional Health Policy Hearings

July 19, 2012 — July Congressional Hearings

July 19, 2012 — House Appropriations Panel Votes to Defund ACA, AHRQ

July 6, 2012 — Congressional Panels Schedule Hearings on ACA Issues (Tax Policy, Physician/Economic Impact)

June 18, 2012 — House Panel Clears Legislation to Address Medical Product Theft, Counterfeiting

June 18, 2012 — June Congressional Health Policy Hearings

June 8, 2012 — House Approves ACA Device Tax Repeal Bill in Face of Veto Threat

May 31, 2012 — House Panel Takes Up ACA Medical Device Tax Repeal, Other Health Tax Policy Bills

May 31, 2012 — Congressional Health Policy Hearings

May 14, 2012 — Congressional Health Policy Hearings

May 11, 2012 — House Panel Unanimously Approves FDA User Fee Act

April 23, 2012 — Ways & Means Bill Would Recapture Additional ACA Subsidy Overpayments.

April 23, 2012 — April Congressional Health Policy Hearings and Markups

March 29, 2012 — Congressional Health Policy Hearings

March 14, 2012 — Two House Panels Approve IPAB Repeal Legislation

March 14, 2012 — Congressional Hearings on Drug Issues.

February 24, 2012 — Congressional Health Policy Hearings & Markups

February 10, 2012 — February Congressional Health Policy Hearings

January 25, 2012 — Second House Committee Votes to Repeal ACA CLASS Program

January 25, 2012 — E&C Health Subcommittee Plans FDA User Fee Hearings in February

January 23, 2012 — E&C Health Subcommittee Plans FDA User Fee Hearings in February

December 13, 2011 — December Congressional Health Policy Hearings

December 13, 2011 — Counterfeit Drug Penalties

December 13, 2011 — ACA CLASS Program Repeal Bill Advances

November 29, 2011 — House Panel Votes to Repeal ACA CLASS Program

November 29, 2011 — Congressional Health Policy Hearings

November 11, 2011 — Congressional Health Policy Hearings & Markups

October 28, 2011 — Energy & Commerce Hearings on ACA Policy Issues

October 12, 2011 — Hearings this Week on Medicare Reform, Chronic Care, Employer-Provided Insurance

September 29, 2011 — Congressional Hearings Examine Variety of Health Industry Issues

September 22, 2011 — Upcoming House Hearings on Drug Shortages, Device/Drug Regulations

September 8, 2011 — Upcoming Congressional Hearings on Health Care Industry Consolidation, Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Security

September 1, 2011 — Senate HELP Committee Markup of GME/Autism Bills.

July 29, 2011 — Congressional Panels Consider Generic Drug Promotion, Other Health Policy Legislation

July 29, 2011 — Congressional Health Policy Hearings

July 18, 2011 — July Congressional Health Policy Hearings/Markups

June 24, 2011 — Congressional Hearings on Health Policy Issues

June 24, 2011 — Upcoming Markup of GME, Autism Policy Legislation

June 13, 2011 — June Congressional Hearings on Health Policy Issues

May 31, 2011 — Senate Judiciary Committee Clears Anti-Fraud Legislation

May 31, 2011 — Congressional Hearings on Health Policy Issues

May 13, 2011 — House Panel Approves Bill to Repeal Medicaid/CHIP Maintenance of Eligibility Requirements

May 13, 2011 — Congressional Hearings on Health Policy Issues

May 13, 2011 — Health Care Liability Reform

April 13, 2011 — House Panel Approves Bills to Roll Back Certain ACA Funding

April 13, 2011 — Congressional Health Policy Hearings

April 12, 2011 — Congressional Hearings This Week on FDA Medical Device Approvals, Drug Imports/Diversion

March 29, 2011 — Congressional Hearings on ACA, Medicare & Other Health Policies

March 11, 2011 — Upcoming Congressional Hearings on the Affordable Care Act

March 7, 2011 — Congressional Hearings on the ACA, Health Care Fraud

February 24, 2011 — Upcoming Congressional Hearings on ACA and the States, Health Care Fraud

February 18, 2011 — House Committees Consider Medical Liability, Health Policy Bills

February 18, 2011 — Congressional Hearings

February 4, 2011 — Congressional Hearings on ACA Implementation Issues (Feb. 9-10)

January 28, 2011 — Congressional Hearings

January 11, 2011 — Upcoming Senate Hearings on ACA Implementation

December 15, 2010 — Health Policy Bills Approved

December 15, 2010 — Congressional Hearings

November 29, 2010 — Congressional Hearings & Markups

September 30, 2010 — Congressional Hearings

September 28, 2010 — House E&C Committee Plans Hearing on Drug Safety Bill (Sept. 30)

September 17, 2010 — Health Policy Legislation Cleared by House Panel

September 17, 2010 — September 2010 Congressional Hearings

September 9, 2010 — Upcoming Congressional Hearing on DMEPOS Competitive Bidding (Sept. 15)

July 29, 2010 — Congressional Health Policy Hearings

July 21, 2010 — Upcoming House Energy and Commerce Hearing on HITECH Act (July 27)

July 14, 2010 — Ways & Means Hearing on Incentives for Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records (July 20)

July 12, 2010 — Congressional Hearings on Health Policy Issues

June 18, 2010 — Congressional Hearings on Health Care Fraud, Health Policy Issues

June 8, 2010 — Upcoming Hearing on Antibiotic Development and Use

May 28, 2010 — Congressional Hearings

May 13, 2010 — May 2010 Congressional Hearings