House Committee on Energy and Commerce to Mark Up Health Legislation

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce has announced that it will hold a markup on Tuesday, July 28. Several health bills are on the agenda: H.R. 1344, the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act of 2015, which reauthorizes a program for early detection, diagnosis, and treatment regarding deaf and hard-of-hearing newborns, infants, and young children; H.R. 1462, the Protecting Our Infants Act of 2015, which seeks to reduce the rise of prenatal opioid abuse and neonatal abstinence syndrome through improving data and developing recommendations for prevention and treatment; H.R. 1725, the National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Reauthorization Act of 2015, which amends and reauthorizes the controlled substance monitoring program under the Public Health Service Act; and H.R. 2820, the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Reauthorization Act of 2015, which reauthorizes the National Cord Blood Inventory program and the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program.

Potential Senate Vote on Obamacare Repeal This Week

On Sunday, July 26, the Senate Republicans failed to attach an Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal provision to the highway funding bill. The amendment fell on a partisan 49-43 vote, but eight senators were absent from the weekend proceedings. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) is expected to propose a procedural motion early this week that would allow approval of the Obamacare repeal provision with a simple majority vote.

House Committee on the Judiciary Announces Fall Hearings on Health Care Competition

On Thursday, July 23, House Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Ranking Member John Conyers Jr. (D-MI), Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law Chairman Tom Marino (R-PA), and Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law Ranking Member Hank Johnson (D-GA) announced that the Committee plans to hold a series of hearings to explore competition in the U.S. health care marketplace. According to the Committee, the first hearing in September will consider the role the ACA has played in the consolidation of the industry. It will also examine any impacts on care accessibility and affordability for consumers. The second hearing will focus on consolidation within the industry, including the proposed mergers between Aetna and Humana and Anthem and Cigna.

Last week, Anthem Inc. agreed to purchase Cigna Corp. for $48.4 billion, which would create the largest health insurer in the country if the deal passes regulatory muster. Several weeks ago, Aetna Inc. agreed to buy Humana Inc. for $34 billion.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Tuesday, July 28: The House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing to discuss rural health care disparities created by Medicare regulations.
  • Tuesday, July 28: The House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a hearing titled “Reviewing the Policies and Priorities of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.” The Honorable Sylvia Mathews Burwell is slated to testify.
  • Tuesday, July 28: The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing titled “Continuing Concerns with the Federal Select Agent Program: Department of Defense Shipments of Live Anthrax.”
  • Tuesday, July 28: The House Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations will hold a hearing titled “America’s Growing Heroin Epidemic.”
  • Tuesday, July 28: The House Committee on Energy and Commerce will hold a markup to consider H.R. 985, Concrete Masonry Products Research, Education, and Promotion Act of 2015; H.R. 1344, Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act of 2015; H.R. 1462, Protecting Our Infants Act of 2015; H.R. 1725, National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Authorization Act of 2015; H.R. 2820, Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Reauthorization Act of 2015; and H.R. 3154, E-Warranty Act of 2015.
  • Wednesday, July 29: The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will hold a hearing titled “Examining the True Costs of Alcohol and Drug Abuse in Native Communities.”
  • Thursday, July 30: The House Committee on Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture will hold a hearing titled “Examination of Federal and State Response to Avian Influenza.”
  • Friday, July 31: The Senate Special Committee on Aging will hold a field hearing in St. Louis, Missouri titled “Celebrating Medicare: Strengthening The Program For The Next 50 Years.”