On February 2, 2017, the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held a hearing entitled "Patient Relief from Collapsing Health Markets."
Drug pricing was a major area of focus for this hearing, with discussion on the following matters:
- Generic drug legislation: Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) announced that the Committee will consider a bipartisan bill on generic drugs, H.R. 749, the Lower Drug Costs Through Competition Act, next week.
- Value-based payments: Members and witnesses discussed value-based payment policy proposals to address drug costs.
- Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs): The Committee discussed the influence of PBMs on prescription drug prices and the role antitrust laws could play in addressing competition issues.
- Medicare Part D: Witnesses discussed the Medicare Part D program as a model for managing prescription drug costs.
The second area of focus for the hearing was insurance market reforms. In his opening statement, Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael Burgess (R-TX) noted that all of the proposed bills to address market reforms provide states with flexibility because "states, not Washington, D.C.," will know best what requirements are needed for a viable market. Members and hearing witnesses debated market-based legislative proposals designed to do the following:
- modify the Affordable Care Act's age rating requirements;
- require individuals to provide pre-enrollment verification before enrolling in coverage during special enrollment periods;
- modify premium payment grace periods for individuals enrolled in subsidized coverage; and
- alter the existing ban or pre-existing limitations to require individuals to maintain continuous coverage to access pre-existing condition protections.