POLICY BRIEFINGS


Senators Request Update on Foreign Processing of American Genomic Data


Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) have written to HHS and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requesting an update on the circumstances in which the agency may be funding entities that process Americans’ genomic data in China or Russia. They express concerns that CMS is providing payments for genetic testing or analysis to U.S. companies with ties to the Chinese government. The letter requests a response no later than November 14.


Top E&C Republican to Retire


Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Greg Walden (R-Ore.) announced that he will not seek reelection in 2020, stating his decision to “close the public service chapter” of his life. Walden was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1998. The state’s 2nd congressional district is expected to be retained by the GOP. During his time as chair of powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, Walden oversaw efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and also spearheaded the panel’s passage of comprehensive legislation to address the opioid epidemic. Walden is the 17th House Republican to announce his retirement plans in advance of the 2020 elections. In response to the announcement, Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), a senior member of the committee, stated that he is reconsidering his decision to retire now that the top Energy and Commerce Committee spot will be available.


Stephen Hahn, MD Formally Nominated as FDA Commissioner


President Trump announced his decision to nominate radiation oncologist Stephen Hahn, M.D., chief medical executive at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, as Commissioner of Food and Drugs. Dr. Sharpless, the previous Acting Director, has returned to his role as director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and Admiral Brett Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health, will serve as Acting Commissioner until Hahn’s Senate confirmation. Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) plans to schedule a hearing to consider the nomination, while HELP Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) stated that she will vet Dr. Hahn on his plans to prioritize science, uphold the FDA’s gold standard for product safety and efficacy, and to meaningfully address youth tobacco use.


Former Sen. Kay Hagan Dies at 66


Former Senator Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) passed away last week at the age of 66. Hagan served a single term in the Senate – defeating Sen. Elizabeth Dole in 2008 but losing to Thom Tillis (R) in 2014. She passed away due to complications from a 2016 diagnosis with the tick-borne Powassan virus, a type of encephalitis. During the Senate HELP Committee consideration of S. 1657, the bill was renamed the Kay Hagan TICK Act in her honor. She previously served on the Senate HELP Committee.


Upcoming Congressional Hearings and Markups


Senate HELP Committee hearing “Examining the Response to Lung Illnesses and Rising Youth Electronic Cigarette Use;” 10:00 a.m., 430 Dirksen Bldg.; November 13


Recently Introduced Health Legislation


H.R.4861 — To amend the Public Health Service Act to establish a program to improve the identification, assessment, and treatment of patients in the emergency department who are at risk of suicide, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Bilirakis, Gus M. [R-FL-12]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.R.4866 — 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; Sponsor: Rep. Pallone, Frank, Jr. [D-NJ-6]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.R.4870 — To amend the Public Health Service Act with respect to the Public Health Service Corps; Sponsor: Rep. Burgess, Michael C. [R-TX-26]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.R.4882 — To authorize the Attorney General to make grants to provide training to improve police responses for people with mental illness and intellectual and developmental disabilities, to increase the authorization of appropriations for mental health awareness training grants, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. McCaul, Michael T. [R-TX-10]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce; Judiciary

S.2721 — A bill to reduce violence and health disparities by addressing social determinants of health, enhancing health care recruitment, and improving the delivery of quality, coordinated care services, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Sen. Durbin, Richard J. [D-IL]; Committees: Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

H.R.4898 — To amend the Public Health Service Act to establish a rural health center innovation awards program and a rural health department enhancement program, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Kustoff, David [R-TN-8]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.R.4899 — To amend the Public Health Service Act to establish the National Health Service Corps Rural Provider Loan Repayment Program, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Roe, David P. [R-TN-1]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.R.4900 — To amend the Public Health Service Act to establish a national telehealth program, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Roe, David P. [R-TN-1]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce; Ways and Means

H.R.4906 — To provide patient protections with respect to the cost of insulin; Sponsor: Rep. DeGette, Diana [D-CO-1]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce; Ways and Means

H.R.4908 — To amend title 38, United States Code, to prohibit the collection of a health care copayment by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs from a veteran who is a member of an Indian tribe; Sponsor: Rep. Gallego, Ruben [D-AZ-7]; Committees: House - Veterans’ Affairs

S.2723 — A bill to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to reduce drug shortages, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Sen. Collins, Susan M. [R-ME]; Committees: Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions



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