Legislative Update: Week of September 28, 2020

Sep 28, 2020


On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 8337, the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act of 2020. The legislation aims to keep the government open through December 11, 2020 and reauthorizes Medicare, Medicaid and other healthcare extenders until that date. The U.S. Senate is expected to take up this legislation early this week.

And on Thursday, President Trump issued an executive order (EO), “An American First Healthcare Plan,” intended to build upon the Administration’s “commitment to delivering great healthcare with more choices, better care, and lower costs for all Americans.” The EO also states that it “has been and will continue to be the policy of the United States” to “ensure that Americans with pre-existing conditions can obtain the insurance of their choice at affordable rates.” Additional provisions of the EO address surprise medical billing, health care transparency, health care costs, veterans’ care, and medical innovation. As part of this plan, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finalized action to permit states to import prescription drugs. You can read the final rule, here, and the guidance for the FDA, here. HHS also finalized action to solicit private sector proposals to allow pharmacies to import/reimport prescription drugs and insulin as part of President Trump’s “Executive Order on Increasing Drug Importation to Lower Prices for American Patients.” 

Additionally, the Senate HELP Committee held a hearing on Wednesday to examine vaccine progress and the Trump Administration’s latest developments on the federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Senior HHS officials stated that a vaccine could be available in October, with a possibility of 700 million vaccine doses made available by April 2021.


MassBio’s Digital Health Impact 2020 event takes place on Wednesday and will examine the current state of digital health as it relates to the life sciences, the challenges facing its growth, and opportunities for collaboration.

Additionally, MassBio will host a forum titled, “Access To Care Challenges And Innovation During Covid-19: An Oncology Perspective.” Moderated by MassBio President & CEO Bob Coughlin, expert panelists will discuss how COVID-19 has affected patient access to diagnoses, care, and innovative therapies, from an oncology perspective. You can register for this forum, here. On Friday, MassBio will host Representative Joseph Wagner, Assistant Majority Leader, Massachusetts House Of Representatives for a virtual briefing as part of its Policymakers Live series (register here). You can view the upcoming Policymakers Live events, here.

The first presidential debate in the 2020 election cycle takes place on Tuesday at 9pm. It will consist of six 15-minute segments, each of which will have one dedicated topic.

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