Pallone and Eshoo on House Passage of Four Health Care Bills
Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Health Subcommittee Chairwoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) released the following joint statement after the House of Representatives passed four health care bills this week:
“The House of Representatives passed bipartisan health care bills that will eliminate coverage gaps, allow for better coordination of benefits, and streamline Medicare enrollment for America’s seniors. We are also improving access to lifesaving immunosuppressive drugs. The House also continued to build on the progress of last week’s historic vote to federally decriminalize marijuana by passing a bill that will significantly improve marijuana research. We’re grateful to the members for their hard work on these bills and look forward to continuing to work together to get them signed into law before the end of the year.”
The House of Representatives passed the following bills:
H.R. 2477, the “Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and the Eligibility Simplification (BENES) Act of 2019,” introduced by Reps. Raul Ruiz (D-CA), Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Brad Schneider (D-IL), and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL). Among other things, the bill would require the Federal Government to send advance notice about the enrollment process to individuals approaching Medicare eligibility, require that Part B coverage begin during the first month after the month an individual enrolls, and allow for the Secretary to establish a special enrollment period for Part B coverage for individuals experiencing exceptional circumstances such as residing in an emergency or disaster area. The bill also includes H.R. 1375, which would improve coordination of benefits in Medicare, and H.R. 5534, which would remove the 36-month limit for Medicare coverage of immunosuppressive drugs following a kidney transplant that currently exists for those individuals that are only Medicare eligible due to their end stage renal disease. The bill passed on the House Floor by voice vote.
H.R. 3797, the “Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2019,” introduced by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Andy Harris (R-MD), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Rob Bishop (R-UT), and Debbie Dingell (D-MI). The bill would facilitate research with marijuana by streamlining the registration process under the Controlled Substances Act for researchers and directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to ensure a supply of marijuana for research purposes. The bill passed on the House Floor by voice vote.
H.R. 1570, the “Removing Barriers to Colorectal Screening Act,” introduced by Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ). The bill eliminates cost-sharing for Medicare beneficiaries with respect to colorectal cancer screening tests, even in cases where a polyp is detected and removed. The bill passed on the House Floor by voice vote.
HR 7898, a bill to amend title XXX of the Public Health Services Act to provide for a technical correction to provide the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Service certain authorities with respect to investigations of information blocking, and for other purposes, introduced by Reps. Michael Burgess (R-TX) and Peter Welch (D-VT). The bill makes a technical correction to provide the Inspector General of HHS certain authorities with respect to investigations of information blocking and incentivizes health care providers to adopt cybersecurity best practices. The bill passed on the House Floor by voice vote.