Welcome back. This week will focus largely on “Medicare for All” proposals. The House Rules Committee will hold the first hearing on the subject this Congress, reviewing H.R. 1384 introduced by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA) and Rep. Debbie Dingell (MI) with 108 Democratic cosponsors. Keep in mind that five of the nine Democrats on the Rules Committee, including Chairman Jim McGovern, endorsed the legislation. It’s also worth noting that Michael Burgess, Ranking Member of the Energy & Commerce (E&C) Health Subcommittee, sits on the Rule Committee giving the hearing added intrigue.
While it is being reported that H.R. 1384 may receive another hearing in the next few weeks, it is not likely to be marked up any time soon before the powerful E&C or Ways & Means committees, an indication that the committees’ leadership is focused on reforming and strengthening the Affordable Care Act, in addition to lowering drug costs which has broad bipartisan support.
There are more bills than just H.R. 1384 that touch on “Medicare for All” policies. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL) are expected to reintroduce “Medicare for America” tomorrow. This legislation carries some differences to the Jayapal proposal, but is expected to garner overlapping interest from the progressive base.
DRUG PRICING OVERSIGHT CONTINUES
On Tuesday, the E&C Health Subcommittee will host the executive director of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) to discuss various aspects of Medicare’s prescription drug programs. The hearing is expected to discuss the propose rule that would implement the International Pricing Index model demonstration. The hearing will also explore several actions taken by the Administration around Medicare Part D.
Given the technical nature of the hearing, stakeholders should expect a deeper dive into various issues such as the proposals around six protected classes and the rebate rule, which would exclude from safe harbor regulations certain prescription drug discounts. Policymakers will also get a window into the latest MedPAC recommendations on spending.
While the full House is poised the pass several drug pricing related bills, expect interest and oversight to continue as policymakers explore ways to lower costs for consumers.