Pallone and Eshoo on House Passage of Five Health Bills
Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Health Subcommittee Chairwoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) released the following joint statement today upon passage of five bills on the House Floor today to improve our nation’s health care system:
“Today the House continued its ongoing work to strengthen our nation’s health care system,” Pallone and Eshoo said. “Several of the bills passed by the House invest in our health care workforce with funding for education, training programs and diversity efforts. The House also passed legislation to improve drug pricing transparency and create new tools and resources to help consumers navigate the complexities of their prescription drug benefits. Taken together, these bills will improve quality of care for Americans through strategic investments in our workforce and streamlined information.”
The House of Representatives passed the following bills:
H.R. 2781, the “EMPOWER for Health Act of 2019,” introduced by Rep. Schakowsky (D-IL), would reauthorize funding at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for health profession workforce, education, and training programs. The legislation expands efforts to increase diversity, improve geriatrics education and training, and grow the pediatric health care workforce. The bill also creates a new authorization of $5 million to increase workforce diversity in the professions of physical therapy, occupational therapy, audiology, and speech-language pathology. The bill passed on the House Floor by voice vote.
H.R. 728, the “Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2019, introduced by Rep. Joyce (D-OH), would reauthorize funding for federal nursing workforce development grant programs administered by HRSA for five years. These programs include traineeships, loan repayment, and scholarships for nurses to attain advance practice status and to become nursing faculty. Continued investment in these programs is necessary to ensure the United States has an adequate supply of nurses. The bill passed on the House Floor by voice vote.
H.R. 647, the “Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act,” which was introduced by Rep. Engel (D-NY). The goal of this legislation is to improve education, health care professional training, and research into palliative care and hospice care through grant programs that create Palliative Care and Hospice Education Centers, support projects to fund training of physicians who plan to teach palliative medicine, and which promote the career development of academic hospice and palliative care physicians in addition to nonphysician health professionals entering the field of palliative care. The bill passed on the House Floor by voice vote.
H.R. 2115, the “Public Disclosure of Drug Discounts Act,” was introduced by Rep. Spanberger (D-VA) and amended to include H.R. 3415, the “Real-Time Beneficiary Drug Cost Bill,” introduced by Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI). Together, the bill would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to make public the aggregate rebates, discounts, and price concessions that pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) negotiate with drug manufacturers. Additionally, Medicare prescription drug plan sponsors would implement an electronic, real-time benefit tool that is capable of integrating with at least one prescriber's electronic prescribing system or electronic health record so beneficiaries have access to better information about their drug plan at the point of prescribing. The bill passed on the House Floor by a vote of 403 – 0.
H.R. 1781, the “Payment Commission Data Act of 2019,” introduced by Rep. Carter (R-GA), would provide the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) and the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) with access to drug pricing and rebate data under Medicare Parts B and D, as well as under Medicaid. The bill passed on the House Floor by voice vote.