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Hearings Updates


Jun 13, 2024
Press Release

Subcommittee Chair Guthrie Opening Remarks at Hearing on CMS Innovation

Washington D.C. —  House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s subcommittee  hearing  titled “Checking-In on CMMI: Assessing the Transition to Value-Based Care.”  “Thank you to our witness, Dr. Liz Fowler, for being here with us today as we ‘check-in’ on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation’s progress in lowering costs and improving quality of care paid for by Medicare and Medicaid. “Our health care system has underdone significant changes over the last decade and Americans continue to cite health care costs as a top concern. “More Americans are stuck paying more for health care, more than they ever have in the past.” HEALTH CARE EXPENDITURES RAPIDLY INCREASING ON THE BACKS OF TAXPAYERS AND PATIENTS “Taxpayers are also on the hook for higher health care expenditures. “In 2022, health care spending grew by 4% year-over-year, reaching $4.5 trillion, nearly 17% of U.S. gross domestic product. “During this same time, spending on hospital care reached 30% of total health care spending while physician and clinical services reached 20% of all health care spending.   “Physicians are now being forced to spend more man hours on back-office administrative tasks in efforts by taxpayers to keep costs low.” CMMI FAILED TO ACHIEVE PROJECTED COST SAVINGS “Policy makers and stakeholders from across the health care system have hoped that by embracing value-based care, high costs and physician burnout would be addressed, and patients would receive a higher quality of care.   “The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation was supposed to be a key driver of this movement toward value-based care.   “However, Medicare and Medicaid’s transition to value care has clearly stagnated.   “CMMI was established as a part of the Affordable Care Act with the dual goal of driving better patient outcomes and slowing the growth rate of the Medicare and Medicaid program costs.   “The Congressional Budget Office originally projected that CMMI would not just offset the costs of running pilot programs but drive significant long-term savings across our health care system.   “That unfortunately has not come close to materializing. A September 2023 CBO report found that CMMI’s activities increased spending by almost $5.5 billion.    “Under the Biden administration the Center has undertaken an internal reevaluation.   “While I would hope this strategic refresh would generate a renewed commitment to better fulfilling CMMI’s mission of reducing costs and improving quality in its second decade.   “However, I must admit I am concerned the Center has instead further shifted focus from its Congressionally anointed purpose.   “I would be remised if I didn’t mention a few specific actions CMMI has taken recently that could significantly harm the transition to value-based care.   “The first, is the so-called Accelerating Clinical Evidence model in which CMMI has proposed to slash payments to Part B providers who are prescribing therapies fully approved by the FDA through the Accelerated Approval Pathway.   “This not only undermines the FDA gold standard but penalizes those attempting to drive transformative change for patients that otherwise lack treatment options.”  CMMI IS IMPEDING INNOVATION “I am furthermore concerned about CMMI’s Cell and Gene Therapy Access Model, which may inhibit the states’ ability to use value-based agreements to pay for curative cell-and-gene therapies approved by FDA. “We have 50 incubators across the country in the form of our state Medicaid programs and waiver authorities that give states the ability to shape policies that make the most sense for their budgetary needs and the needs of their beneficiaries. “By CMS directly negotiating drug rates for these therapies, it weakens the ability for states to negotiate directly with manufacturers or to form states compacts that give states greater bargaining power in these situations. “I would instead urge CMMI and CMS to work with Congress to pass my MVP Act, which I’ve worked with Ranking Member Eshoo on, which would codify CMS’ multiple best price rule and truly allow states to use value-based agreements to get life-changing treatments to patients as quickly and as affordably as possible, should be the goal of all of us. “In closing, I hope today’s discussion helps us chart a path forward for CMMI that can ensure the center is better delivering on its mission to facilitate innovation payment models that deliver for patients and taxpayers and reenergize the transition to value-based care.” 



Jun 13, 2024
Hearings

Chair Rodgers Opening Remarks at Hearing on CMS Innovation

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s Health Subcommittee hearing titled “Checking-In on CMMI: Assessing the Transition to Value-Based Care.” CMMI'S FAILURE TO LOWER COSTS    “The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation was created to help improve how Medicare and Medicaid pay for health care and be an engine in our drive towards value-based care.   “CMMI was given a 10-year, $10 billion budget and extremely wide-ranging authorities with limited built-in congressional oversight.   “The only directives Congress gave CMMI were to achieve two goals: lower the cost of delivering care and improve patient outcomes.   “Over the last decade and a half, CMMI has tested over 50 models. Only two accomplished both of those goals.   “When CMMI was created, the savings it was projected to generate were to be used to offset spending by the Affordable Care Act.   “Originally, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that CMMI would save $1.3 billion over its first decade of operation.  “That same model also projected CMMI to save as much as $77.5 billion in its second decade, from 2020 to 2030.   “However, when CBO looked at the actual results in a September 2023 report, the disparity between those expectations and the reality proved to be staggering.   “Instead of reducing spending by $1.3 billion in the first decade, CMMI increased spending by $5.4 billion.   “For this second decade, instead of saving 77.5 billion dollars, CBO is now projecting CMMI to increase spending by $1.3 billion.   “I have a hard time believing any objective observer could look at the results thus far and describe CMMI as a success.   “So how do we move forward? “Today, we’re joined by Dr. Elizabeth Fowler, the current Director of CMMI, to discuss the Center’s work and understand why it has failed to live up to its intended purpose thus far. “I will note that Dr. Fowler has not been with CMMI throughout its entire existence. “In fact, CMMI has had multiple directors across multiple administrations. “But you are at the helm now and responsible for correcting this program’s trajectory, and while there are some reasons for optimism, a lot of what I have seen is concerning.” CMMI STRAYING FROM ITS CORE MISSION  “I’ve been disappointed to see CMMI devalue drugs approved through the FDA’s Accelerated Approval Pathway—which FDA leadership confirmed meet the agency’s gold-standard just a few weeks ago in this committee.   “This pathway was designed to build on precision medicine, encourage innovation, and allow patients to access needed cures sooner, but CMMI’s decision to cut reimbursements unilaterally for drugs approved via Accelerated Approval undercuts this mission.  “In addition, when Congress passed MACRA, thanks in large part to the work of this Committee, CMMI was given a cental role in driving Medicare’s transition to value-based care.   “While CMMI has developed and tested some new models, largely for primary care physicians, too many clinicians have been left without a pathway to participate in APMs.   “I’m concerned that instead of focusing on fulfilling the role Congress gave CMMI in MACRA and working on developing new APMs, CMMI’s focus has shifted to collecting information on patients' food insecurity and housing needs and requiring providers to waste time writing ridiculous 'health equity plans.’”  SOME POSITIVE OUTCOMES   “While I have concerns on the overall direction and lack of results with CMMI, there have been a few positive outcomes that deserve to be recognized.  “Looking at CMMI’s most recent work, I am glad you are continuing to build on the Accountable Care Organization model.   “While joining an ACO should not be the only pathway for providers to be able to participate in value-based care, these models are among the few that have actually managed to reduce overall spending and should not be abandoned.   “I was encouraged to see CMMI work on trying to improve care for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.   “Sadly, most people know someone that has suffered from this terrible disease, and I hope that this model is successful in improving community-based care for those patients.   “Lowering the costs of health care in this country has been a primary mission of this Committee this Congress. We are on an unsustainable path and must continue to find ways to reverse the current trend. “This makes it all the more important that CMMI carries out its intended mission and avoids pursuing an alternative agenda. “Dr. Fowler, I am grateful you are here to share your expertise and eager to hear what lessons CMMI has learned and how we can get it back on track to lower costs and improve care.” 



Chair Rodgers Opening Remarks at Hearing on Securing America's Critical Materials Supply Chains

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee hearing titled “Securing America’s Critical Materials Supply Chains and Economic Leadership.” “Today’s hearing is an opportunity to examine how we reduce our dependence on China and take the steps necessary to maintaining American economic leadership for decades to come. “An important step to achieving this is to significantly increase our domestic production and supply of critical materials, which are foundational to America’s ability to manufacture goods like batteries, electric grid components, semiconductors, and advanced energy technologies, which are crucial to our economic and national security. “If we fail, America will continue to be dangerously reliant upon others for these critical materials, in particular, adversaries, like China, and vulnerable to supply chain disruptions and market manipulation. “It starts with having an honest conversation about what has led us to where we are today and how we have become so dependent on others. “Only then will we be able to advance the solutions necessary to creating the regulatory predictability needed for mining, processing, and refining of these materials domestically, ending our reliance on others, ensuring stable access to critical materials, boosting American manufacturing, and protecting America’s economic future and national security.” HOW WE GOT HERE “Over the last several decades, America’s capacity to mine, process, and refine minerals has been decimated. “The United States was once one of the world’s leading producers of the minerals and metals that are foundational to America’s economic success and national security. “Today, more than 90 percent of those minerals are under the control of the Chinese Communist Party. “Their supply chains stretch from the jungles of the African Congo to smelters and refineries in China. “We have allowed them to establish a monopoly on the core components needed to produce the batteries powering our smartphones, computers, electric cars, and many renewable sources of energy. “To make matters worse, they do this with zero regard for any environmental, labor, or human rights standards. “The Biden administration’s rush to green agenda will only further solidify China’s stranglehold on the market. “By advancing policies that mandate technologies whose core components can only be sourced from China while failing to advance policies to onshore production of those core components, we are only further enriching China—the largest polluter in the world. “The Inflation Reduction Act and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act were filled with these mandates and pumped hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars into subsidizing the purchasing of these technologies, exasperating the problem. “We cannot continue doing the same thing over and over again and expect anything to change.” BIDEN’S CRUSHING REGULATIONS “We have to get serious about getting to the root cause of the problem, which is overburdensome regulation and start advancing the policies necessary to onshoring production of critical materials. “The U.S. has enacted the strongest environmental laws in the world, which have helped us clean up our air and water over the last half century. “It’s possible to continue building on our legacy of environmental stewardship without pushing our supply chains overseas. “To do this, however, we need reasonable solutions rather than a continuation of the current regulatory and legal environment that has all but forced U.S. mines and smelters out of business or out of the country. “The good news is that the U.S. has been blessed with tremendous natural resources. We have a rich history of harnessing and leveraging these resources through free market principles. “Today I look forward to discussing what is necessary to continue building on that legacy. “We do it by standing up for American values of free market competition, innovation, environmental stewardship; better aligning our environmental goals with our goals for economic growth and national security, and securing and growing our critical material supply chains to end America’s dependence on adversaries like China.”



Jun 12, 2024
Hearings

UPDATED TIME: Health Subcommittee Hearing on Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation

Washington D.C. – The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing will now start at 11:00 AM ET.    WHAT: A Health Subcommittee Hearing to discuss the state of CMS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation and hear from the head of CMMI about challenges relating to their intended mission.  DATE: Thursday, June 13, 2024  WHEN: 11:00 AM ET LOCATION: 2123 Rayburn House Office Building  This notice is at the direction of the Chair. The hearings will be open to the public and press and will be live streamed online at https://energycommerce.house.gov/ . If you have any questions concerning the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology hearings, please contact Noah Jackson at Noah.Jackson@mail.house.gov . If you have any press-related questions, please contact Sean Kelly at Sean.Kelly@mail.house.gov



UPDATED TIME: Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee Hearing on Critical Materials

Washington D.C. – The House Energy and Commerce Committee Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee hearing  will now start at 11:30 AM ET.         WHAT:  An Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee hearing to discuss ways to secure America’s critical material supply chains and reduce our dependence on foreign adversaries, like China.  DATE: Thursday, June 13, 2024        WHEN: 11:30 AM ET  LOCATION: 2322 Rayburn House Office Building       This notice is at the direction of the Chair. The hearings will be open to the public and press and will be live streamed online at https://energycommerce.house.gov/ . If you have any questions concerning the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology hearings, please contact Noah Jackson at Noah.Jackson@mail.house.gov . If you have any press-related questions, please contact Sean Kelly at Sean.Kelly@mail.house.gov



Chairs Rodgers and Carter Announce Hearing on Securing American Critical Materials Supply Chains

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee Chair Buddy Carter (R-GA) announced a hearing titled “Securing America’s Critical Materials Supply Chains and Economic Leadership.” “If America is going to continue its manufacturing and energy leadership, we must significantly increase our domestic supply of the necessary critical materials," said Chairs Rodgers and Carter. "These materials are crucial for manufacturing everything from batteries, electric grid components, and semiconductors, to advanced energy technologies. Our current regulatory landscape runs counter to the reasonable predictability necessary for permitting the mining, processing, and refining of these materials domestically. We look forward to hearing from stakeholders and experts on how to grow and secure our critical material supply chains—while maintaining our environmental leadership—and also ensure America isn’t dependent on adversaries like China, which pose a threat to our national and economic security.” Subcommittee on Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials hearing titled “Securing America’s Critical Materials Supply Chains and Economic Leadership” WHAT: Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee hearing on securing our critical materials supply chains and reducing our dependence on foreign adversaries, like China. DATE: Thursday, June 13, 2024 TIME: 10:30 AM ET LOCATION: 2322 Rayburn House Office Building This notice is at the direction of the Chair. The hearing will be open to the public and press and will be livestreamed online at https://energycommerce.house.gov/ . If you have any questions concerning the hearing, please contact Kaitlyn Peterson at Kaitlyn.Peterson@mail.house.gov . If you have any press-related questions, please contact Sean Kelly at Sean.Kelly@mail.house.gov



Jun 6, 2024
Press Release

Chairs Rodgers and Guthrie Announce Health Subcommittee Hearing on CMS Innovation

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Subcommittee on Health Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY) today announced a subcommittee hearing titled “Checking-In on CMMI: Assessing the Transition to Value-Based Care.”  “As medical innovation continues to open doors to improving and extending life, it’s important that government programs that pay for care keep pace. CMMI was created over a decade ago and provided billions in funding and broad authority to find ways to save taxpayer dollars and improve health outcomes for patients. However, to date, it has little to show in demonstrated successful outcomes,” said Chairs Rodgers and Guthrie. “This hearing will give Members a chance to hear from the head of CMMI about the challenges to achieving their intended mission and consider whether Congress needs to step in to provide clearer direction or take other steps to ensure beneficiaries are best served.”  Subcommittee on Health hearing titled “Checking-In on CMMI: Assessing the Transition to Value-Based Care.”  WHAT : A hearing to discuss the state of CMS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.  DATE : Thursday, June 13, 2024       TIME : 10:00 AM ET   LOCATION : 2123 Rayburn House Office Building       WITNESS : Elizabeth Fowler, Ph.D, J.D. , Deputy Administrator and Director, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services   This notice is at the direction of the Chair. The hearing will be open to the public and press and will be live streamed online at https://energycommerce.house.gov / . If you have any questions concerning the hearing, please contact Emma Schultheis with the Committee staff at Emma.Schultheis@mail.house.gov . If you have any press-related questions, please contact Christopher Krepich at Christopher.Krepich@mail.house.gov



Jun 4, 2024
Hearings

Subcommittee Chair Griffith Opening Remarks at Oversight Hearing on the 340B Program

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s subcommittee hearing titled “Oversight of 340B Drug Pricing Program.”  “Today’s hearing is an opportunity to examine the 340B drug pricing program. “I will start by saying this is a personal hearing for me because this topic is something I made a promise to my dear friend and fellow Virginia member, Don McEachin, that I would do before he passed away. “He called me regarding a 340B report relating to his district before the election and a couple of weeks before his unexpected death and said, 'If you are chairman of Oversight and Investigations on Energy and Commerce, I need your help on 340B.’ I promised him I would help. “So, I am glad we are doing this hearing and fulfilling that promise.” 340B’S ORIGINAL MISSION “The 340B program was established by Congress to allow certain covered entities that provide care to a large number of underserved patients to purchase drugs at significant discounts from manufacturers.  “In theory, the savings these covered entities yield from receiving the discounted drug is meant to be passed along to patients and to be reinvested into that community to help provide additional care or resources.   “But, it is not mandated to disclose where these dollars go and how much they made from this program. It is mostly a black box as to what happens with these dollars.   “When the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010, the program rapidly expanded by allowing more entities to receive the discounted 340B price for drugs.    “The number of covered entities participating in the 340B program has increased from 8,000 in 2000 to more than 50,000 in 2020.   “Today, the 340B program accounts for almost $54 billion in annual discounted sales. Making it the second largest federal prescription drug program.   “I am a supporter of the overall 340B program.   “There are many hospitals, including in my district, who are appropriately using the 340B dollars to keep their doors open and heavily rely on this program.  “Yet, we see reports about entities taking advantage of the system. And that is what caused my friend, Don McEachin, to reach out.”  ABUSE OF THE 340B SYSTEM   “The New York Times reported on how Bon Secours hospital system apparently used the Richmond Community Hospital, in Virginia, which serves predominately poor patients, to expand its use of 340B at the expense of Richmond Community Hospital and patients in that community.  “The New York Times asserted that over the years, services at this Richmond Community Hospital were slashed and departments closed, while Bon Secours used the hospital as a piggy bank and transferred millions out of Richmond to other hospitals within the system, possibly as far away as Ohio.   “This is the reverse Robin Hood. Steal from the poor to pay the rich.   “One specific example in this report was Bon Secours using the Richmond Community Hospital to purchase a cancer drug for more than $3,000 and then turning around and selling that same drug they bought under the 340B discount for more than $25,000 to a private insurer.   “That could be an almost $22,000 in profit alone from one single vial for one patient.  “When reports like the Bon Secours situation occur, it is Congress’s job to step in and provide oversight into this program.”  ENSURING 340B IS EXPANDING ACCESS TO CARE   “The 340B program is a lifeline for many hospitals, health clinics, community health centers, and many other health care facilities.   “My district has more than 50 community health centers and 340B serves as a critical tool to help keep their doors open and to provide additional services for my constituents.   “When I visit these centers and hospitals in my district, they are very open about where their 340B dollars go.   “That is because my district is economically stressed, and health care providers rely on these dollars to serve their patients.   “I believe creating more transparency in the program so we can see where the dollars are flowing and ensuring the program is not being taken advantage of is the first step.   “This will allow Congress to understand the full picture and ensure that the patients are the ones reaping the benefits of this program.  “The patient is the one who must come first in this, and they should not be caught in the crosshairs of any of the issues we will hear about today.” 



Subcommittee Chair Duncan Opening Remarks at Hearing on Meeting the Energy Needs of America’s Digital Future

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Chair Jeff Duncan (R-SC) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s subcommittee hearing titled “Powering AI: Examining America’s Energy and Technology Future.”  “We are here today to examine the next frontier of the American economy—the digital information economy. Data centers and AI are powerful tools that give America an edge.     “To stay ahead of our adversaries and competitors, we must keep this edge.  “At the same time, we have to maintain our energy dominance.   “America is blessed with tremendous natural resources. Our energy future directly impacts our technology future—in fact, our energy dominance will now be the reason for our technology dominance.”   DEMAND GROWTH   “For decades, electricity demand has remained flat. That is no longer the case. In fact, we are seeing demand grow at a scale and pace that many utilities have never seen before.  “By some estimates, demand will grow by 5 percent per year nationwide through the end of the decade. But in certain parts of the country, demand could grow by as much as 20 percent.    “Regardless of the exact number, we know electricity demand is surging in many places because of data center growth, new manufacturing, and electrification.  “This electricity demand from data centers and manufacturing is not like residential demand that uses a little electricity here and there and can be asked to turn off through demand response and virtual power plants.   “Many of these enterprises run non-stop at 90 percent of their full potential.  “They can’t afford disruptions, shortfalls, or blackouts; they require 24/7/365 electricity to power American innovation. If data centers, including those using AI, need constant power, they cannot rely upon intermittent resources for that firm, dispatchable power.”  GRID RELIABILITY WARNINGS    “At the same time, we are seeing demand surge, grid experts have warned for years that the reliability of our electric grid is in danger of blackouts.    “Much of this grid reliability crisis is because of the premature retirement of our most reliable resources like coal, natural gas, and nuclear.    “A perfect example of this is the nation’s largest grid operator, PJM. Two states seeing some of the largest increases in data center demand—Virginia and Ohio—are in PJM.   “PJM is warning us that up to 30 percent of its generation could retire by 2030 while energy consumption is projected to increase by 40 percent by 2039.    “So, on the one hand we are subtracting our most reliable generation and on the other hand, we are saying we need more power.”  ENERGY EXPANSION   “If the U.S. is going to rise to the energy and technology challenge, we must embrace energy expansion. Pipelines are essential to the energy security of the United States.    “If we don’t have the necessary infrastructure to deliver energy from producers to consumers, we will undercut our economic, energy, and technology security.    “If we are going to meet the energy needs and climate pledges of technology companies, we are going to need new nuclear, both large reactors and small modular reactors.   “The bipartisan work this Committee has done on nuclear energy with the Atomic Energy Advancement Act will help deploy more nuclear energy—emissions-free, firm generation.”   PROTECTING RATEPAYERS AND PLANNING   “As we build out this new infrastructure, we must ensure that residential ratepayers feeling the squeeze from inflationary policies of the Biden administration are not burdened with even higher utility bills.   “Despite the many benefits of data centers, we must make sure that costs for electric infrastructure are paid by those customers causing the costs.   “They should not be disproportionately spread to residential ratepayers and other captive customers.  “The pace and scale at which we are seeing data centers come online requires data center companies, utilities, regulators, and policymakers to work together early and often.   “Communication, new frameworks, and long-term planning are vital to meeting the technology and energy needs of this decade and decades to come.”