Legislative Update: Week of October 28, 2019
The House Ways and Means Committee advanced H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, as amended, by a vote of 24-17-1. H.R. 3 was released by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to lower prescription drug prices in Medicare and commercial markets through Health and Human Services (HHS) negotiations, with a cap based on international prices, among other provisions The Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor Committees advanced H.R. 3 earlier this month along party line votes. The House Rules Committee will reconcile differences in the legislation in advance of House Floor action, which is now expected in November
The Massachusetts Senate engrossed their version of the Fiscal Year 2019 Supplemental Budget. The bill that was passed by the Senate includes, as Section 15, language to extend the copay sunset to January 1, 2021 – a twelve-month extension from the existing Jan 1, 2020 sunset. This follows the House passing language in their supplemental budget extending the sunset by 18 months to July 31, 2021.
On Wednesday, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing entitled: “Safeguarding Pharmaceutical Supply Chains in a Global Economy.” This hearing will take a close look at how the federal government and industry can work together to ensure the safety and security of active pharmaceutical ingredients and to better diversify the supply chain.
The Massachusetts House and Senate will likely set up a six-member conference committee to privately iron out the differences in the Fiscal Year 2019 Supplemental Budget bills. These bills include language to extend the copay sunset in Massachusetts, which is currently set to sunset on Jan 1, 2020. This is likely to happen quickly in order to meet the October 31 statutory deadline for the comptroller to complete financial reporting and close the books.
Also, the Joint Committee on Financial Services Committee will hold a public hearing on Tuesday. Among the bills being heard are House Bill 1072 which aims to prevent inappropriate denials for medically necessary services and House Bill 972 which aims to increase enrollment in limited and tiered networks.