On May 11, 2017, the Senate on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee approved S 934, a bill extend Food and Drug Administration user-fee programs for prescription drugs, medical devices, generic drugs, and biosimilar biological products. The legislation also includes various policy changes, including provisions intended to improve the medical device inspection process and modify the regulation of hearing aids, among other things.  The bill now moves to the full Senate.  Previously, the HELP Committee approved:  S 652, to reauthorize a program for early detection, diagnosis, and treatment regarding deaf and hard-of-hearing newborns, infants, and young children; S 849, to support programs for mosquito-borne and other vector-borne disease surveillance and control; S 916, to amend the Controlled Substances Act with regard to the provision of emergency medical services; and S 920, to establish a National Clinical Care Commission.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee also held a hearing regarding improving the regulation of medical technologies. The hearing focused on the following bipartisan bills:  HR 1652, the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017; HR 2009, the Fostering Innovation in Medical Imaging Act; HR 2118, the Medical Device Servicing and Accountability Act, and HR 1736, to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to improve the process for inspections of device.  The panel held a separate hearing on “Combating Waste Fraud and Abuse in Medicaid Personal Care Services Program.”

In addition, the following hearings and markups are scheduled next week:

  • A May 16 Senate Finance Committee hearing on bipartisan Medicare policies that improve care for patients with chronic conditions.
  • A May 17 Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee markup of bipartisan bills intended to advance public health: HR 931, the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act of 2017 (to requires the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to maintain a registry to collect data on the incidence of cancer in firefighters); HR 1876, the Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act (to would shield health care professionals from liability when they volunteer their services during a federally declared disaster); HR 767, the Stop, Observe, Ask and Respond (SOAR) to Health and Wellness Act of 2017 (to provide health care professionals training on how to identify and treat human trafficking victims); and the Action for Dental Health Act of 2017 (to reauthorize CDC oral health promotion and disease prevention programs).
  • A May 18 House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee hearing on the current status of the Medicare program, potential changes to Medicare’s payment systems, and Medicare programs that are set to expire.