Health Legislation Hits House Floor

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has announced that the following health-related bills will be considered this week under suspension of the rules: H.R. 1624, the Protecting Affordable Coverage of Employees Act, as amended, which provides that employers with 51 to 100 employees are small employers for purposes of health insurance markets; S. 139, the Ensuring Access to Clinical Trials Act of 2015, which permanently allows an exclusion under the Supplemental Security Income Program and the Medicaid program for the compensation given to those who participate in clinical trials focused on rare diseases or conditions; H.R. 2061, the Equitable Access to Care and Health (EACH) Act, which expands the religious conscience exemption under the health care reform law; and H.R. 3593, To extend the authorization to carry out the replacement of the existing medical center of the Department of Veterans Affairs in Denver, Colorado, and for other purposes. On Tuesday, September 29, the House may also consider H.R. 3495, the Women’s Public Health and Safety Act, which provides states with increased flexibility in excluding Medicaid providers who are involved in abortions.

House Committees To Address Reconciliation

House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has announced that the committee will hold a markup on Tuesday, September 29, to consider a reconciliation bill. While the bill language and a schedule for floor consideration remain unannounced, there is some expectation that the legislation could address unpopular Affordable Care Act provisions, such as those on the Cadillac Tax, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), and employer and individual mandates.

Similarly, House Committee on Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) has announced that the committee will hold a markup the same day to consider reconciliation recommendations, which would defund the Prevention and Public Health Fund in the health care reform law and defund Planned Parenthood.

Senate HELP Committee To Mark Up Health Bills

On Wednesday, September 30, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) will meet in executive session to consider three bills: S. 799, the Protecting Our Infants Act of 2015, which focuses on reducing the rise of prenatal opioid abuse and neonatal abstinence syndrome; S. 1893, the Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act of 2015, which reauthorizes and amends programs related to mental health and substance abuse disorders; and S. 481, the Improving Regulatory Transparency for New Medical Therapies Act, which amends the Controlled Substances Act and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act in regards to drug scheduling recommendations and registration of manufacturers and distributors seeking to conduct clinical testing. Any nominations cleared for action will also be placed on the agenda.

House and Senate Committees To Examine Medicare Program on October 1

On Thursday, committees in both chambers will bring the Medicare program under their scrutiny. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce will consider possible enhancements to the program in a hearing titled “Examining Potential Ways to Improve the Medicare Program.” The hearing will focus on three pieces of legislation: H.R. 1934, the Cancer Care Payment Reform Act of 2015, which amends the Social Security Act to direct the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to establish an Oncology Medical Home Demonstration Project; H.R. 556, the Prevent Interruptions in Physical Therapy Act of 2015, which adds physical therapists to the list of providers able to utilize locum tenens arrangements under Medicare; and H.R. ___, To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to make changes to the Medicare home health face-to-face encounter requirements.

The Senate Committee on Finance will hold a hearing titled “Improper Payments in Federal Programs,” which will focus on Medicare, Medicaid, and the Earned Income Tax Credit. The Honorable Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States, United States Government Accountability Office, is slated to testify.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Monday, September 28: The House Committee on Rules will meet to discuss H.R. 3495, the Women’s Public Health and Safety Act.
  • Tuesday, September 29: The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hold a hearing titled “Planned Parenthood’s Taxpayer Funding.”
  • Tuesday, September 29: The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing titled “An Overdue Checkup: Examining the ACA’s State Insurance Marketplaces.”
  • Tuesday, September 29: The House Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial, and Antitrust Law will hold a hearing titled “Healthy Competition? An Examination of the Proposed Health Insurance Mergers and the Consequent Impact on Competition.”
  • Tuesday, September 29: The House Committee on Ways and Means will hold a markup of “Legislative proposals in response to the reconciliation directive included in section 2002 of S.Con.Res. 11.”
  • Tuesday, September 29: The House Committee on Energy and Commerce will hold a markup of reconciliation recommendations; H.R. 3242, The Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act, which requires liquid nicotine to be sold in child-resistant packaging; and H.R. 8, the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act.
  • Tuesday, September 29: The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will hold a hearing titled “Examining the Impact of Exposure to Toxic Chemicals on Veterans and the VA’s Response.”
  • Wednesday, September 30: The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology will hold a hearing titled “Dyslexia and the Need to READ: H.R. 3033, the Research Excellence and Advancements for Dyslexia Act.”
  • Wednesday, September 30: The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) will hold a markup to consider S. 799, the Protecting Our Infants Act of 2015; S. 1893, the Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act of 2015; S. 481, the Improving Regulatory Transparency for New Medical Therapies Act; and nominations.
  • Thursday, October 1: The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing titled “Examining Potential Ways to Improve the Medicare Program.”
  • Thursday, October 1: The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) will hold a hearing titled “Achieving the Promise of Health Information Technology.”
  • Thursday, October 1: The Senate Committee on Finance will hold a hearing titled “Improper Payments in Federal Programs.”