POLICY BRIEFINGS


GAO Releases Report on DTC Advertising


The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a new report finding that the Medicare program and its beneficiaries spent $560 billion on prescription drugs between 2016 and 2018, with nearly 60% of spending going to products advertised directly to consumers. The GAO indicates that while direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising may increase patient use and spending on drugs, other factors such as physician prescribing decisions are also at play. Pharmaceutical manufacturers spent approximately $6 billion each year on DTC advertising for 553 drugs. Almost half of all ad spending was for prescription drugs that treat chronic conditions, and almost all spending was for on brand drug products. Two-thirds of ad dollars were spent on just 39 drugs.


MedPAC June 2021 Report to Congress


The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) released its June Report to Congress last week. Amongst other recommendations, MedPAC recommends that lawmakers replace Medicare’s value-based purchasing program for nursing homes, change the Medicare Advantage (MA) program payment determination methodology, reduce the number of Medicare alternative payment models (APMs), move all Medicare preventive vaccine coverage into Part B, and modify Medicare’s vaccine payment methodology and data collection practices. The report also contains the commission’s summary of the impact of private equity investments on the Medicare program and an interim report on beneficiaries’ access to care in rural areas.


OSHA ETS Expected to Go into Effect Today


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released a long-awaited emergency rule outlining workplace safety standards for the health care services and support industry for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic. The emergency temporary standard (ETS) details what health care employers must do to protect their workers from COVID-19. The rule requires social distancing protocols, proper patient screening, paid time off for vaccination, and encouraging employees to get the vaccine. Workplaces where all workers are fully vaccinated and where people who may have COVID-19 are barred are carved out of the regulation. The ETS will take effect on the date that it is published in the Federal Register. It is currently listed as a special filing to the Federal Register, scheduled to be published on June 21, 2021. Once the ETS is in effect, employers must comply with most provisions within 14 days and with the remaining provisions within 30 days. To help employers assess whether the ETS is applicable to their worksites, OSHA has provided a flowchart, available here.

In related news, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee advanced the nomination of Doug Parker to lead OSHA by a vote of 13-9 last week. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) joined their Democratic colleagues on the panel in voting to approve the nomination. It remains unclear when Parker’s confirmation vote before the full Senate will be scheduled. The nominee currently serves as the head of the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health.


Upcoming Congressional Hearings and Markups


Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing “Vaccines: America’s Shot at Ending the COVID-19 Pandemic;” 10:00 a.m.; June 22

Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property hearing “Protecting Real Innovations by Improving Patent Quality;” 2:30 p.m.; June 22

House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy hearing “An Epidemic Continues: Youth Vaping in America;” 10:00 a.m.; June 23

Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Cyber hearing to receive testimony on recent ransomware attacks; 2:00 p.m.; June 23

House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing “Empowered by Data: Legislation to Advance Equity and Public Health;” 10:30 a.m.; June 24

House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies markup of fiscal year 2022 appropriations legislation; time TBD; June 25

House Appropriations Committee markup of fiscal year 2022 appropriations legislation for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies; time TBD; June 30

House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies markup of fiscal year 2022 appropriations legislation; time TBD; July 12

House Appropriations Committee markup of fiscal year 2022 appropriations legislation for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies; time TBD; July 15


Recently Introduced Health Legislation


H.Res.469 — Expressing support for the designation of June 2021 as “Migraine and Headache Awareness Month”. Sponsor: Rep. Dean, Madeleine [D-PA-4]; Committees: Energy and Commerce

H.Res.471 — Recognizing the seriousness of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and expressing support for the designation of the month of September 2021 as “PCOS Awareness Month”. Sponsor: Rep. Scott, David [D-GA-13]; Committees: Energy and Commerce

H.R.3858 — To establish a national science and technology strategy, a quadrennial science and technology review. Sponsor: Rep. Waltz, Michael [R-FL-6]; Committees: Science, Space, and Technology

H.R.3856 — To require the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct a study on disparities associated with race and ethnicity with respect to certain benefits administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Sponsor: Rep. Takano, Mark [D-CA-41]; Committees: Veterans’ Affairs

H.R.3851 —To improve support for research and development of advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing techniques and workforce. Sponsor: Rep. Spanberger, Abigail Davis [D-VA-7]; Committees: Science, Space, and Technology

H.R.3848 — To establish the National Commission on Critical Supply Chains, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Rep. Ryan, Tim [D-OH-13]; Committees: Energy and Commerce

H.R.3846 — To direct the Director of the National Science Foundation to create a program that plans for, establishes, and supports Technology Research Institutes. Sponsor: Rep. Ross, Deborah K. [D-NC-2]; Committees: Science, Space, and Technology

H.R.3841 — To amend the Public Health Service Act with respect to the collection and availability of health data with respect to Indian Tribes. Sponsor: Rep. Mullin, Markwayne [R-OK-2]; Committees: Energy and Commerce

H.R.3834 — To provide a requirement to improve data collection efforts. Sponsor: Rep. Maloney, Sean Patrick [D-NY- 18]; Committees: Energy and Commerce

H.R.3831 — To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for certain rules regarding the treatment of eligible retirement plans in determining the eligibility of individuals for premium and cost-sharing subsidies under part D of the Medicare program. Sponsor: Rep. Lee, Susie [D-NV-3]; Committees: Energy and Commerce; Ways and Means

H.R.3820 – To enforce the requirement that the National Instant Criminal Background Check System make a final disposition of requests to correct its records within 60 days. Sponsor: Rep. Emmer, Tom [R-MN-6]; Committees: Judiciary

H.R.3809 — To direct the Director of the National Science Foundation to establish a Chief Diversity Officer position and to develop a strategic plan to ensure participation in NSF activities by a diverse group of learners, researchers, and institutions. Sponsor: Rep. Bowman, Jamaal [D-NY-16]; Committees: Science, Space, and Technology

H.R.3808 — To provide for a demonstration project to further examine the benefits of providing coverage and payment for items and services necessary to administer intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) in the home, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Rep. Blumenauer, Earl [D-OR-3]; Committees: Energy and Commerce; Ways and Means

H.R.3806 — To amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to establish a methodology for determining State allotments for Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments that is based on State poverty levels, to require States to prioritize disproportionate share hospital payments on the basis of Medicaid inpatient utilization and low-income utilization rates, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Rep. Bilirakis, Gus M. [R-FL-12]; Committees: Energy and Commerce

H.R.3804 — To authorize major medical facility projects of the Department of Veterans Affairs for fiscal year 2021. Sponsor: Rep. Allred, Colin Z. [D-TX-32]; Committees: Veterans’ Affairs

S.2041 — A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to enforce the licensure requirement for medical providers of the Department of Veterans Affairs; Sponsor: Sen. Manchin, Joe, III [D-WV]; Committees: Senate - Veterans’ Affairs

S.2043 — A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to prohibit smoking on the premises of any facility of the Veterans Health Administration, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Sen. Durbin, Richard J. [D-IL]; Committees: Senate - Veterans’ Affairs

S.2047 — A bill to ban the use of intentionally added perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substances in cosmetics; Sponsor: Sen. Collins, Susan M. [R-ME]; Committees: Senate - Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

H.R.3868 — To protect individual liberty, ensure privacy, and prohibit discrimination with respect to the vaccination status of individuals, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Harshbarger, Diana [R-TN-1]; Committees: House - Judiciary; Energy and Commerce; Transportation and Infrastructure; Education and Labor; Foreign Affairs; Oversight and Reform; House Administration

H.R.3880 — To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow for contributions to the Alzheimer’s Research and Caregiving Trust Fund, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Suozzi, Thomas R. [D-NY-3]; Committees: House - Ways and Means; Energy and Commerce; Education and Labor

H.R.3883 — To amend title 38, United States Code, to prohibit smoking on the premises of any facility of the Veterans Health Administration, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Wenstrup, Brad R. [R-OH-2]; Committees: House - Veterans’ Affairs

S.2048 — A bill to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to count a period of receipt of outpatient observation services in a hospital toward satisfying the 3-day inpatient hospital requirement for coverage of skilled nursing facility services under Medicare; Sponsor: Sen. Brown, Sherrod [D-OH]; Committees: Senate – Finance

S.2051 — A bill to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide coverage for custom fabricated breast prostheses following a mastectomy; Sponsor: Sen. Duckworth, Tammy [D-IL]; Committees: Senate – Finance

S.2061 — A bill to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to ensure coverage of mental health services furnished through telehealth; Sponsor: Sen. Cassidy, Bill [R-LA]; Committees: Senate – Finance

S.2069 — A bill to expand the Medicaid certified community behavioral health clinic demonstration program and to authorize funding for additional grants to certified community behavioral health clinics; Sponsor: Sen. Stabenow, Debbie [D-MI]; Committees: Senate – Finance

H.R.3890 — To amend the Public Health Service Act to address physician assistant training needs, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Bass, Karen [D-CA-37]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce

H.R.3893 — To improve kidney disease research, prevention, surveillance, and treatment in minority populations and rural and underserved communities, and for other purposes; Sponsor: Rep. Blunt Rochester, Lisa [D-DE-At Large]; Committees: House - Energy and Commerce



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SERVICES




BRIEFING ARCHIVE


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 +  2019


 +  2018