House Energy & Commerce Committee marks up *19* healthcare bills

Energy & Commerce Committee

 

I'm finally pulling myself out of my self-imposed COVID Vaccination Graphing project, and this seems like a good place to start: Earlier today, the House Energy & Commerce Committee held markup hearings for not one, not two, but nineteen different healthcare-related bills...some major, some minor, but all of them are kind of interesting. I don't really know much about any of these so I'm just posting the initial description of most of them, though in a few cases which catch my eye I'll go a bit more in depth:

  • H.R. 4369, the "National Centers of Excellence in Continuous Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Act"

To amend the 21st Century Cures Act to provide for designation of institutions of higher education that provide research, data, and leadership on continuous manufacturing as National Centers of Excellence in Continuous Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, and for other purposes.

  • H.R. 654, the "Drug-Free Communities Pandemic Relief Act"

To provide the Administrator of the Drug-Free Communities Support Program the authority to waive the Federal fund limitation for the Drug-Free Communities Support Program.

  • H.R. 2051, the "Methamphetamine Response Act of 2021" 

To designate methamphetamine as an emerging threat, and for other purposes.

  • H.R. 2379, the "State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act of 2021"

To amend the 21st Century Cures Act to reauthorize and expand a grant program for State response to the opioid use disorders crisis, and for other purposes.

  • H.R. 2364, the "Synthetic Opioid Danger Awareness Act"

To amend title III of the Public Health Service Act to direct the Secretary, acting through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to provide for a public education campaign to raise public awareness of synthetic opioids.

  • H.R. 2355, the "Opioid Prescription Verification Act of 2021"

To facilitate responsible, informed dispensing of controlled substances and other prescribed medications, and for other purposes.

  • H.R. 2503, the "Social Determinants Accelerator Act of 2021"

To direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish an interagency council on social determinants of health, and for other purposes.

(a) FINDINGS.—Congress finds the following:

(1) There is a significant body of evidence showing that economic and social conditions have a powerful impact on individual and population health outcomes and well-being, as well as medical costs.

(2) State, local, and Tribal governments and the service delivery partners of such governments face significant challenges in coordinating benefits and services delivered through the Medicaid program and other social services programs because of the fragmented and complex nature of Federal and 11 State funding and administrative requirements.

(3) The Federal Government should prioritize and proactively assist State and local governments to strengthen the capacity of State and local governments to improve health and social outcomes for individuals, thereby improving cost-effectiveness and return on investment.

  • H.R. 4026, the "Social Determinants of Health Data Analysis Act of 2021"

To require the Comptroller General of the United States to submit to Congress a report on actions taken by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to address social determinants of health.

  • H.R. 3743, the "Supporting the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health and the Reagan-Udall Foundation for the Food and Drug Administration Act"

To increase funding for the Reagan-Udall Foundation for the Food and Drug Administration and for the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.

  • H.R. 550, the "Immunization Infrastructure Modernization Act"

To amend the Public Health Service Act with respect to immunization system data modernization and expansion, and for other purposes.

...‘‘(g) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.—To carry out this section, there is authorized to be appropriated $400,000,000, to remain available until expended.’’.

  • H.R. 1550, the "Promoting Resources to Expand Vaccination, Education and New Treatments for HPV Cancers Act of 2021" or the "PREVENT HPV Cancers Act of 2021"

To amend the Public Health Service Act to provide for a public awareness campaign with respect to human papillomavirus, and for other purposes.

  • H.R. 951, the "Maternal Vaccination Act"

To direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to carry out a national campaign to increase awareness of the importance of maternal vaccinations for the health of pregnant and postpartum individuals and their children, and for other purposes.

...a national 10 campaign to—

(1) increase awareness of the importance of maternal vaccinations for the health of pregnant and postpartum individuals and their children; and

(2) increase maternal vaccination rates, with a focus on communities with historically high rates of unvaccinated individuals.

(b) CONSULTATION.—In carrying out the campaign under this Act, the Secretary shall consult with relevant community-based organizations, health care professional associations and public health associations, State public health departments and local public health departments, Tribal-serving organizations, nonprofit organizations, and nationally recognized private entities.

  • H.R. 925, the "Data to Save Moms Act"

To amend the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 201 et seq.) to authorize funding for maternal mortality review committees to promote representative community engagement, and for other purposes.

  • H.R. 4387, the "Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act of 2021"

To amend the Public Health Service Act to improve maternal health, to improve obstetric care in rural areas, and for other purposes.

  • H.R. 3742, the "Vaccine Information for Nursing Facility Operators Act" or the "Vaccine INFO Act"

To require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to issue revised regulations to require the dissemination of information on ACIP recommended immunizations to staff of nursing facilities.

  • H.R. 1978, the "Protecting Seniors Through Immunization Act"

To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide information regarding vaccines for seniors as part of the Medicare & You handbook and to ensure that the treatment of cost sharing for vaccines under Medicare part D is consistent with the treatment of vaccines under Medicare part B, and for other purposes.

  • H.R. 2347, the "Strengthening the Vaccines for Children Act"

To amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to ensure adequate access to vaccines under the Medicaid program and the Vaccines for Children program, and for other purposes.

  • H.R. 3894, the "Collecting and Analyzing Resources Integral and Necessary for Guidance for Social Determinants Act of 2021" or the "CARING for Social Determinants Act of 2021"

To require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to issue and disseminate guidance to States to clarify strategies to address social determinants of health under the Medicaid program and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and for other purposes.

  • H.R. 4406, the "Supporting Medicaid in the U.S. Territories Act"

To amend titles XI and XIX of the Social Security Act to provide increased financial support to the territories under the Medicaid program, and for other purposes.

I dipped my toe into the issue of Medicaid coverage in the U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands) during my recent Medicaid enrollment tracking project, where I discovered that nearly 1.5 million people are enrolled in Medicaid across all five...a data point which oddly doesn't show up in some supposedly "nationwide" Medicaid enrollment reports, which seems a bit odd to me. Huh.

Over at the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute Center for Children & Families, Edwin Park has a blog post which explains the problem and proposed solution in this last bill:

Without this funding, the territories would be subject to a dire “fiscal cliff” at the end of September that would require them to make draconian cuts to their Medicaid programs, which already suffer from significant gaps including lacking coverage of mandatory eligibility groups and benefits.

In December 2019, Congress provided Puerto Rico and the other territories — American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands — their most recent temporary increases in federal Medicaid funding, which were available for two years.  But these funding increases, along with temporary increases in the territories’ federal Medicaid matching rates, expire after September 30, 2021.

If the temporary funding increases are allowed to expire, the only federal funding available to the territories will be their fiscal year 2022 base block grants.  (Unlike the states, the territories operate their Medicaid programs under block grants: fixed amounts of federal funding that are not tied to their actual spending needs.)  Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) data indicate these base block grants would represent reductions in federal Medicaid funding of 85 percent for American Samoa, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, 88 percent for the Northern Mariana Islands, and 86 percent for Puerto Rico, compared to what they are currently receiving in fiscal year 2021.

...The bipartisan bill that will be considered by the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee would take the essential step of addressing the looming fiscal cliff and averting the highly damaging Medicaid cuts the territories would otherwise have to make.  The bill would effectively extend current federal funding levels for Puerto Rico by five years (fiscal years 2022 through 2026) and for the other territories by eight years (fiscal years 2022 through 2029).  It would also extend the availability of the higher regular federal matching rates — 76 percent for Puerto Rico and 83 percent for the other territories — for the duration of these funding increases.  As a condition of this increased funding, Puerto Rico would be required to establish an asset verification program (which is now required of states), report on its progress towards reporting Medicaid quality measures and institute some contracting reforms.