Recent Congressional hearings and markups have concentrated on prescription drug pricing, insurance access, and other health topics. For instance, last week the House Ways and Means Committee unanimously approved H.R. 2113, the Prescription Drug Sunshine, Transparency, Accountability and Reporting Act of 2019 (STAR Act). The legislation would, among other things:
- Require drug manufacturers to report their “justification” for drug price increases that exceed certain thresholds.
- Mandate that manufacturers of drug, biologicals, devices, and medical supplies publicly report on the Open Payments database the value and quantity of free samples given to providers.
- Extend to manufacturers without a Medicaid rebate agreement the requirement to report average sales price for drugs covered under Medicare Part B, and authorize civil money penalties for failure to report such information or for reporting false information.
- Direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to publicly disclose certain rebates, discounts, and other price concessions achieved by pharmaceutical benefits managers (PBMs) and to report on drugs furnished in the inpatient hospital setting.
Earlier this month the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved 12 bills aimed at reducing prescription drug and other health care costs, including legislation intended to: bolster generic drug competition; support Affordable Care Act insurance enrollment programs and state-based insurance marketplaces; reverse Trump Administration policies on short-term, limited duration health insurance and State Relief and Empowerment Waivers; and establish an “Improve Health Insurance Affordability Fund” to help states lower premiums in the individual health insurance market.
In addition to these markups, Congressional panels have held hearings various health policy issues, including the following:
- A House Education & Labor Committee hearing entitled “Examining Surprise Billing: Protecting Patients from Financial Pain.
- A Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to examine implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act, focusing on making electronic health information available to patients and providers.
- A Senate Finance Committee hearing on prescription drug pricing, focusing on PBMs.
- Energy & Commerce Committee hearings on insulin costs and reducing barriers to prescription drug market competition.