Congressional committees have held numerous hearings and markups in recent weeks on health policy topics, including several hearings focused on health care costs. Highlights include the following:
- The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held hearings on ways to reduce prescription drug and other health care costs and administration of the 340B drug pricing program.
- The Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs held a hearing on Medicaid fraud and overpayments, featuring testimony from the Office of Inspector General and Government Accountability Office.
- A Senate Finance Committee hearing addressed prescription drug affordability and innovation. The panel also unanimously approved the “Helping to End Addiction and Lessen (HEAL) Substance Use Disorders Act,” which is intended to improve how Medicare, Medicaid and other human services programs respond to the opioid crisis.
- A Joint Economic Committee hearing focused on the potential of health care savings accounts to bend the health care cost curve.”
- House Energy and Commerce Committee hearings focused on HHS cybersecurity, the state of U.S. public health biopreparedness, and Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act reauthorization. Additionally, on June 27 the Health Subcommittee approved the following measures: the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act; HR 5385, the Children’s Hospital GME Support Reauthorization Act; HR 959, the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act; HR 1676, the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act; and HR 3728, the Educating Medical Professionals and Optimizing Workforce Efficiency Readiness (EMPOWER) Act.
- A House Ways and Means Committee hearing addressed consumer-directed health plans. In addition, the Committee approved: HR 6142, the Reducing Drug Waste Act (to require the HHS Secretary to develop an action plan on to reduce single-use drug waste); HR 6138, the Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment Transparency Act (to require the Secretary to provide additional information when it declines to add a procedure to the ASC-approved procedure list); and HR 4952, to direct the Secretary to report on the effects of the inclusion of quality increases in the determination of Medicare Part C blended benchmark amounts.