Health

Subcommittee

Subcommittee on Health

The health sector broadly, including private and public health insurance (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP); biomedical research and development; hospital construction; mental health; health information technology, privacy, and cybersecurity; medical malpractice and medical malpractice insurance; the 340B drug discount program; the regulation of food, drugs, and cosmetics; drug abuse; the Department of Health and Human Services; the National Institutes of Health; the Centers for Disease Control; Indian Health Service; and all aspects of the above-referenced jurisdiction related to the Department of Homeland Security.

Subcommittees News & Announcements


Jul 9, 2024
Press Release

Chairs Rodgers and Guthrie Applaud Bipartisan National Plan to End Parkinson's Act Being Signed into Law

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Health Subcommittee Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY) issued the following statement after H.R. 2365, the Dr. Emmanuel Bilirakis and Honorable Jennifer Wexton National Plan to End Parkinson’s Act , was signed into law: "This bipartisan legislation will help support research into prevention, diagnosis, and treatment options for patients with Parkinson’s disease, which an estimated one million Americans live with every day. It is a huge step forward for patients, their loved ones, and caretakers working to support those battling the disease,” said Chairs Rodgers and Guthrie. "We commend Reps. Gus Bilirakis and Paul Tonko for shepherding this legislation through the Energy and Commerce Committee, both chambers of Congress, and to the President’s desk.” Congressman Bilirakis also added, “I celebrate this important milestone in memory of my dear brother, other family members, and on behalf of all Americans who are still struggling with this debilitating disease. It takes a terrible toll on the physical, emotional and economic well-being of everyone involved. The lack of treatment options leave patients, families, and American taxpayers in a terrible quandary. We must change our approach to get better results, which is exactly what our legislation will do. It builds upon past successes and strives to replicate other national project models that have helped advance health care goals and treatment options. This critical legislation will provide hope to those who are suffering and hopefully lead to better patient outcomes with less expensive disease management. I thank my colleagues and the many patient advocates who helped us get the bill across the finish line!” H.R 2365 was reported out of the Energy and Commerce Committee by a vote of 47 – 0 on December 6, 2023. It passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 407 – 9 on December 14, 2023, and passed by the Senate unanimously on May 23, 2024. President Biden signed H.R. 2365, the Dr. Emmanuel Bilirakis and Honorable Jennifer Wexton National Plan to End Parkinson’s Act , into law on July 2, 2024. 



Jul 1, 2024
Press Release

E&C, Ways & Means, and Judiciary Chairs Demand Watchdogs Review After Report Exposes Widespread Fraud in Obamacare Plans

Washington, D.C. — In new letters to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Inspector General and Government Accountability Office (GAO) Comptroller General, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), House Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith (R-MO), and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) ask for systemic reviews of Obamacare enrollment to determine the breadth of improper enrollment and its underlying causes.  The letters come following the release of a paper from Paragon Health Institute, which estimates that four to five million people are improperly enrolled in fully-subsidized Obamacare plans at a cost of $15 to $26 billion per year to taxpayers.  KEY EXCERPT FROM THE LETTERS:   The Democrat-passed tax-and-spend laws resulted in tens of billions of additional taxpayer dollars being spent to prop up Obamacare plans by increasing subsidies given to insurance companies far above those originally authorized by Congress. Recently, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that making those subsidy levels permanent would add nearly $400 billion to the deficit on top of the hundreds of billions in existing Obamacare spending.  A key feature of this expansion increases subsidies for insurance companies such that the full cost of premiums for individuals with incomes between 100 and 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) is paid for by American taxpayers, often referred to as “zero-premium” plans. This policy, coupled with the Biden administration's regulatory actions to eliminate program integrity controls in the federal exchanges, such as prohibiting key eligibility verification procedures, appears to have created both the incentive and opportunity for individuals and brokers to misstate enrollees’ income to place them in benchmark plans receiving the maximum subsidy.  Individuals enrolled in this income cohort nationwide exceed the total number of potentially eligible individuals. This problem appears to be particularly acute in certain states, with some reporting hundreds of thousands, and, in one case, millions more individuals enrolled in these plans than are reasonably likely to be eligible. More than half of all enrollees in the federal exchange now report incomes between 100 and 150 percent of FPL—notably higher than the historical average of roughly 40 percent—further demonstrating the breadth of the enrollment incongruity.  While individuals may reasonably misestimate their income at any given point, the scale of the problem suggests malicious intent from certain actors involved. There have been documented issues with broker behavior surrounding these “zero-premium” plans, with reports and litigation detailing practices of consumers having their plan switched by such brokers without their consent.  Estimates show the cost of improperly enrolled individuals in “zero-premium” plans are $15 billion to $20 billion per year and potentially as high as $26 billion per year. If these estimates are accurate, it implies that these improper payments represent more than half the cost of making the expanded subsidies permanent.  Runaway deficits and debt are threatening to breach historic levels in the next decade, and, by 2054, the cost of simply servicing our national debt will more than double relative to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), crowding out other important national priorities. Given this grave situation, it is critical that the federal government safeguard increasingly scarce resources to ensure that every dollar spent goes as far as possible to improve Americans’ wellbeing.  CLICK HERE to read the letter to HHS Inspector General Christi Grimm. CLICK HERE to read the letter to GAO Comptroller General Gene Dodaro.



Jun 28, 2024
Press Release

Chair Rodgers Statement on SCOTUS Ruling to Restore Article I Power

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) issued the following statement after the United States Supreme Court struck down the “Chevron Deference” in Loper Bright Enterprises, et al. v. Raimondo : “Article I of the Constitution established Congress’s role to write the laws of the land—not the Executive Branch. The Supreme Court’s ruling today will help restore the proper balance of power as the Founders envisioned it. Moving forward, major decision-making authority will no longer automatically be deferred to unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats. Power has been placed back in the hands of the American people and their elected representatives, as the Constitution prescribes.” 


Subcommittee Members

(30)

Chairman Health

Brett Guthrie

R

Kentucky – District 2

Vice Chair Health

Larry Bucshon, M.D.

R

Indiana – District 8

Ranking Member Health

Anna Eshoo

D

California – District 16

Michael Burgess

R

Texas – District 26

Bob Latta

R

Ohio – District 5

Morgan Griffith

R

Virginia – District 9

Gus Bilirakis

R

Florida – District 12

Richard Hudson

R

North Carolina – District 9

Buddy Carter

R

Georgia – District 1

Neal Dunn, M.D.

R

Florida – District 2

Greg Pence

R

Indiana – District 6

Dan Crenshaw

R

Texas – District 2

John Joyce

R

Pennsylvania – District 13

Troy Balderson

R

Ohio – District 12

Diana Harshbarger

R

Tennessee – District 1

Mariannette Miller-Meeks

R

Iowa – District 1

Jay Obernolte

R

California – District 23

Cathy McMorris Rodgers

R

Washington – District 5

John Sarbanes

D

Maryland – District 3

Tony Cardenas

D

California – District 29

Raul Ruiz

D

California – District 25

Debbie Dingell

D

Michigan – District 6

Ann Kuster

D

New Hampshire – District 2

Robin Kelly

D

Illinois – District 2

Nanette Diaz Barragán

D

California – District 44

Lisa Blunt Rochester

D

Delaware

Angie Craig

D

Minnesota – District 2

Kim Schrier

D

Washington – District 8

Lori Trahan

D

Massachusetts – District 3

Frank Pallone

D

New Jersey – District 6

Recent Letters


Jul 1, 2024
Press Release

E&C, Ways & Means, and Judiciary Chairs Demand Watchdogs Review After Report Exposes Widespread Fraud in Obamacare Plans

Washington, D.C. — In new letters to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Inspector General and Government Accountability Office (GAO) Comptroller General, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), House Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith (R-MO), and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) ask for systemic reviews of Obamacare enrollment to determine the breadth of improper enrollment and its underlying causes.  The letters come following the release of a paper from Paragon Health Institute, which estimates that four to five million people are improperly enrolled in fully-subsidized Obamacare plans at a cost of $15 to $26 billion per year to taxpayers.  KEY EXCERPT FROM THE LETTERS:   The Democrat-passed tax-and-spend laws resulted in tens of billions of additional taxpayer dollars being spent to prop up Obamacare plans by increasing subsidies given to insurance companies far above those originally authorized by Congress. Recently, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that making those subsidy levels permanent would add nearly $400 billion to the deficit on top of the hundreds of billions in existing Obamacare spending.  A key feature of this expansion increases subsidies for insurance companies such that the full cost of premiums for individuals with incomes between 100 and 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) is paid for by American taxpayers, often referred to as “zero-premium” plans. This policy, coupled with the Biden administration's regulatory actions to eliminate program integrity controls in the federal exchanges, such as prohibiting key eligibility verification procedures, appears to have created both the incentive and opportunity for individuals and brokers to misstate enrollees’ income to place them in benchmark plans receiving the maximum subsidy.  Individuals enrolled in this income cohort nationwide exceed the total number of potentially eligible individuals. This problem appears to be particularly acute in certain states, with some reporting hundreds of thousands, and, in one case, millions more individuals enrolled in these plans than are reasonably likely to be eligible. More than half of all enrollees in the federal exchange now report incomes between 100 and 150 percent of FPL—notably higher than the historical average of roughly 40 percent—further demonstrating the breadth of the enrollment incongruity.  While individuals may reasonably misestimate their income at any given point, the scale of the problem suggests malicious intent from certain actors involved. There have been documented issues with broker behavior surrounding these “zero-premium” plans, with reports and litigation detailing practices of consumers having their plan switched by such brokers without their consent.  Estimates show the cost of improperly enrolled individuals in “zero-premium” plans are $15 billion to $20 billion per year and potentially as high as $26 billion per year. If these estimates are accurate, it implies that these improper payments represent more than half the cost of making the expanded subsidies permanent.  Runaway deficits and debt are threatening to breach historic levels in the next decade, and, by 2054, the cost of simply servicing our national debt will more than double relative to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), crowding out other important national priorities. Given this grave situation, it is critical that the federal government safeguard increasingly scarce resources to ensure that every dollar spent goes as far as possible to improve Americans’ wellbeing.  CLICK HERE to read the letter to HHS Inspector General Christi Grimm. CLICK HERE to read the letter to GAO Comptroller General Gene Dodaro.



Jun 24, 2024
Press Release

E&C Republicans Press FDA Again for Information Regarding Foreign Inspection Program

Washington, D.C. — In a new letter to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Robert Califf, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Health Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY), and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA) are pressing for more information regarding the agency’s foreign drug inspection program. The letter continues the Committee’s investigation into FDA inspection practices, which include a July 18, 2023, letter , a December 13, 2023, letter , and a February 6, 2024, oversight hearing at which the FDA declined to make an official available to testify.  BACKGROUND :  In the letter, the Members discuss the Committee’s analysis of FDA inspection outcomes in India and China from January 2014 to April 2024, limiting its review to inspectors with ten or more inspections in either China or India.   EXCERPT OF THE ANALYSIS :  “The results of this analysis were surprising, revealing tremendous variation in inspection outcomes. Some FDA inspectors found compliance issues during all or almost all of their inspections. Other inspectors rarely reported finding a single compliance issue. Two inspectors never found a single compliance issue over the course of a combined 24 inspections in India. Another inspector found zero compliance issues in 20 out of 23 inspections (85 percent) in China while finding compliance issues with almost half of domestic inspections during the same period. These are unusual inspection outcomes, the opposite of what would be expected given the widely reported failures in quality control and lack of adherence to current good manufacturing techniques by drug manufacturing facilities in China and India.  “By contrast, 16 FDA inspectors, with over 325 inspections collectively in India, found compliance issues during every inspection they conducted. As a measure of what a pattern of rigorous inspections should look like, the Committee reviewed the inspection outcomes for 3 FDA inspectors with professional reputations for thoroughness who also had at least 10 inspections in China or India during the studied time period. These expert inspectors reported finding no compliance issues during inspections in China at a rate of only 6.7 to 11.4 percent and at a rate of zero to 9.5 percent in India.”  KEY LETTER EXCERPT : “Such large variations in inspection outcomes are troubling, and they merit further investigation. At a minimum, the Committee is concerned that these findings suggest vast differences in the skill, thoroughness, and competence of FDA inspectors. The difference in inspection outcomes appears to be just another example of institutional weaknesses and dysfunction in the FDA’s foreign drug inspection program. Prior to the pandemic, media reporting found that some FDA inspectors took an inappropriately lenient approach with foreign drug manufacturers with serious compliance violations. There were also reports o f, and concerns about, foreign manufacturers attempting to bribe or improperly influence inspectors. The Committee is seriously evaluating the disturbing possibility that some of the variation in inspection outcomes could be the result of bribery or fraud.”  CLICK HERE to read the full letter. 



May 30, 2024
Press Release

Evidence Uncovered by E&C Republicans Refutes Secretary Becerra’s Assertion that HHS Takes Action to Prevent Sexual Abusers from Receiving Taxpayer Funding

Washington, D.C. —  In a new letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Health Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY), and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA) request information regarding HHS’s suspension and debarment process.  The letter also provides direct evidence refuting Secretary Becerra’s testimony to the Health Subcommittee asserting that HHS “will take immediate action” to stop sexual abusers from receiving taxpayer funding. It comes amid the Committee’s ongoing investigation into sexual harassment at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and at NIH grantee institutions.  KEY LETTER EXCERPT :  “At the April 17, 2024, hearing before the Subcommittee on Health, in response to a question about the redactions of names of confirmed abusers or harassers, you said: ‘If there is an abuser that is receiving taxpayer dollars from the Department of Health and Human Services, . . . in this particular case the National Institutes of Health [NIH], we will take action immediately.’    “ However, your claim is belied by the facts. Based on subpoenaed NIH documents reviewed in camera, Committee staff discovered that an individual who served as principal investigator on at least 24 NIH-grants was not suspended or debarred from receiving federal funding despite his conviction in 2021 of sexual abuse and his medical license being stripped . Based on documentation reviewed during the Committee’s in camera review of sexual misconduct allegations on NIH-funded research, staff found that in September 2020, the NIH recommended to HHS an immediate federal-wide suspension and debarment of this abuser for 10 years based on the abuser’s indictment in 2019 on three counts of sexual abuse, and the grantee institution’s determination that the individual was responsible for sexual harassment in January of 2020. Despite this recommendation from the NIH, followed by the individual’s conviction in December 2021, HHS has taken no action. Three and a half years later, this abuser remains eligible for federal funding. On April 15, 2024, Committee staff sent an email to HHS staff requesting information about the status and handling of this matter. HHS has not yet responded.”  [...]  “ We are troubled by the limited use of suspensions and debarments from awarding agencies within HHS along with the timeliness issues and lack of use of suspensions pre-debarment raised by the HHS OIG. Harassers and abusers with public reporting of their actions, and even some with criminal convictions, are not present on SAM.gov as suspended or debarred .”  BACKGROUND : HHS is the largest grantmaking agency in the federal government—awarding over $778 billion in grants in fiscal year 2023.  Federal suspension and debarment programs help to protect the integrity of federal grant programs by ensuring the federal government does business only with responsible persons.  Individuals or parties receiving grants can be suspended or debarred from continuing to receive federal grants if they lack honesty, integrity, or business performance.  Within HHS, a suspension or debarment action may be initiated from an awarding agency—such as the NIH—or another entity—such as the Office of Inspector General (OIG).     Referrals for suspension or debarment are sent to the HHS Office of Recipient Integrity Coordination (ORIC) for review and final decision by the Suspension and Debarment Official (SDO).  Referrals can be conviction-based—originating from a criminal conviction or civil judgement—or fact-based—in which the referring office builds a case based on facts (e.g., audit findings or failures to disclose).  Suspensions and debarments are not retrospective, meaning respondents can maintain their current award(s), but it does prevent them from receiving new federal awards.   Not only are these suspensions and debarments valid within the referring agency, but they also generally make a respondent ineligible for awards from other federal departments.   Suspended or debarred parties or individuals are listed on SAM.gov and awarding departments can check this list before awarding grants to prevent awarding grants to these parties or individuals.   While federal departments have discretion as to when to refer a respondent for suspension or debarment, HHS—and particularly awarding agencies such as the NIH—can prevent known harassers or abusers from receiving additional federal awards across the federal government through these processes.   However, a 2022 HHS OIG report found several concerns during its audit of HHS’s suspension and debarment processes.  HHS OIG found that 84 percent of referrals came from non-awarding agencies—such as the OIG or Office of Research Integrity—rather than those offices charged with supervising ongoing grants.  This statistic raised concerns for the OIG about the extent to which awarding agencies were doing enough to identify and take action against bad actors and if agencies are missing opportunities for additional suspension and debarment referrals.  Another concern is the timeliness of the HHS suspension and debarment process and the limited use of suspensions during pending debarment proceedings.   The HHS OIG found that nearly half of suspensions implemented by ORIC did not meet its 60-day goal, with several suspensions taking longer than 300 days to implement.  Of the 134 debarments that ORIC implemented, nearly all involved grants, yet less than one-third of these debarments included a preceding suspension.  That means more than two-thirds of respondents may have maintained access to additional federal funding during the debarment process, with the longest case taking 1251 days or nearly three and a half years.  Moreover, for conviction-based debarments—in which the evidentiary threshold has generally already been met by the conviction or judgment—75 percent of conviction-based debarments implemented by ORIC did not meet its 100-day goal.  Rather, implementation took an average of 325 days and nearly a quarter of these debarments took over 500 days to be implemented.  The HHS OIG found numerous areas in which the timeliness, efficiency and effectiveness of HHS’s suspension and debarment program were negatively affected by internal factors.   Specifically, there is a very high turnover rate at both the staff and senior leadership levels of the suspension and debarment program, with ORIC’s full staffing levels being four personnel.  Moreover, seven different people served as HHS’s SDO—the official determining if suspension or debarment is to be implemented—in just four years.  With this kind of turnover, cases may fall through the cracks or be heavily delayed.   Moreover, HHS OIG found that a lack of policies and procedures regarding entering and tracking important case information and milestones plus a lack of guidance on what information is needed in fact-based referrals has limited the ability to suspend or debar individuals.  Specifically, ORIC was not able to suspend or debar several individuals due to a lack of documentation in the referral that showed a referring entity followed its own corrective-action escalation process prior to the suspension or debarment.  CLICK HERE to read the full letter.  TIMELINE OF INVESTIGATION:   August 10, 2021 : E&C Republican Leaders Question NIH’s Handling of Sexual Harassment Complaints    August 11, 2022 : E&C Republican Leaders follow up with NIH on Insufficient Response to its Letter on the NIH’s handling of Sexual Harassment    November 30, 2022 : E&C Republicans to NIH: Turn Over Previously Requested Information Ahead of New Congress    March 14, 2023 : E&C Republicans Press NIH for Information on Handling of Sexual Harassment Complaints    October 6, 2023 : E&C Republicans Signal Intent to Issue Subpoena to Obtain Information on NIH’s Handling of Sexual Harassment if Questions Go Unanswered    January 26, 2024 : Chair Rogers notifies NIH of Imminent Subpoena    February 5, 2024 : Chair Rodgers Subpoenas NIH for Documents Related to Investigation into Sexual Harassment at NIH and NIH Grantee Institutions   February 20, 2024 : HHS Responds on behalf of NIH to offer a rolling in camera document review to the Committee. Documents produced in the review have been highly redacted, including the redaction of the names of individuals convicted of criminal offenses, public news articles about individuals who have been found guilty of harassment, and redaction of the names of the institutions where the abuse occurred—effectively preventing the Committee from understanding if NIH continues to fund work performed by substantiated abusers at other institutions—a practice known as “pass the harasser.”   April 16, 2024 : E&C Republicans Expand Investigation into Sexual Harassment at NIH to now Include Review of HHS Office of Civil Rights Compliance Role  May 9, 2024 : E&C Republicans ask Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra to provide the Committee with the legal basis requiring HHS to redact or hide the names of researchers determined to have committed sexual misconduct.