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CCTS Newsletter | June 7, 2019

Wednesday, June 12, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Andres Bachelet
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Dale Dirks and Dane Christiansen

June 7, 2019


The House and Senate continue to maintain a strong focus on medical research and healthcare delivery issues. The appropriations committees are advancing their annual work on FY 2020 spending for key research and public health agencies while the authorizing committees have begun to craft a legislative package to address pre-existing condition coverage, drug costs, and the affordability of insurance.


Most recently, House appropriators marked up their FY 2020 Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies (Ag-FDA) Appropriations Bills. The bill continues to precedent set this year of notable funding increase for public health agencies. Through the proposal, FDA would receive a discretionary funding increase of $185 million coupled with $87 million in additional user fees. The Committee Report accompanying the FY 2020 Ag-FDA Bill also includes policy guidance on contemporary items, such as the Patient-Focused Drug Development Initiative and incorporating patient experience information into drug review and labeling. The Senate is expected to begin marking up its FY 2020 bills, including the bill to fund the National Institutes of Health, in the near future.

Regarding healthcare reform, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee recently released a bipartisan Discussion Draft of a measure entitled the Lower Healthcare Costs Act. The Committee is currently accepting community feedback on the measure, which includes provisions covering surprise medical billing, the cost of prescription drugs, and improving healthcare transparency.

The House of Representatives is also working on a healthcare reform package. The House package is focused on “must-pass” items that need to be addressed before the end of the current fiscal year. While the foundation of a House proposal will include elements like Medicare extenders and PCORI reauthorization, expectations are that patient-centered provisions will also be worked in ahead of negotiations with the Senate on a final, compromise measure.