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Pallone on Committee Passage of Eight Bipartisan Health Bills

Jul 17, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) released the following statement after the full Committee voted to favorably advance eight bills to reauthorize public health and Medicare programs, improve drug pricing transparency, provide Medicaid funding for the U.S. Territories, and address surprise medical billing:

“Today, the Energy and Commerce Committee continued our work to follow through on our commitment to ensure all Americans have access to affordable and quality health care.  Taken together these eight bills will strengthen our national health care system and help rein in costs for consumers. 

“I’m particularly proud of the Committee’s work to reauthorize funding for Community Health Centers and to provide long-term Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Territories.  The Committee also advanced important legislation to bring more transparency to prescription drug prices, extend public health and Medicare programs, and put an end the egregious practice of surprise medical billing.  I thank each of the bill sponsors for their leadership and look forward to a vote of the full House soon.”  

The Committee favorably reported the following bills:

H.R. 2781, the “Educating Medical Professionals and Optimizing Workforce Efficiency and Readiness for Health Act of 2019” or the “EMPOWER for Health Act of 2019,” introduced by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Mike Burgess (R-TX), would provide a five-year reauthorization for the Public Health Service Act Title VII health care workforce development grant programs, including Area Health Education Centers, and Health Professions Training for Diversity.  The bill was passed, as amended, by voice vote.

H.R. 728, the “Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2019,” introduced by Reps. David Joyce (R-OH), Doris Matsui (D-CA), David McKinley (R-WV), Kathy Castor (D-FL), and others, would reauthorize federal nursing workforce development grant programs administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for five years.  The bill was passed by voice vote.

H.R. 1058, the “Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support Act of 2019” or the “Autism CARES Act of 2019,” introduced by Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Mike Doyle (D-PA), would reauthorize funding for programs at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and HRSA through FY 2024. An AINS was offered to this legislation during the Committee markup.  The bill was passed, as amended, by voice vote.

H.R. 2507, the “Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act of 2019,” introduced by Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Michael Simpson (R-ID), and others, would reauthorize newborn screening programs for five years with appropriations of $60.65 million per year through FY 2024.  The bill was passed by voice vote.

H.R. 776, the “Emergency Medical Services for Children Program Reauthorization Act of 2019,” introduced by Reps. Peter King (R-NY), Kathy Castor (D-FL), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), and Chris Stewart (R-UT), would reauthorize the Emergency Medical Services for Children Program at $22.3 million dollars each year through FY 2024.  The bill was passed by voice vote.

H.R. 2035, the “Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act of 2019,” introduced by Reps. James Langevin (D-RI) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), would reauthorize the Lifespan Respite Care program at $20 million in FY 2020, and increase the funding level by ten million dollars each year thereafter through FY 2024.  The bill was passed by voice vote.

H.R. 2296, the “More Efficient Tools to Realize Information for Consumers Act” or the “METRIC Act,” introduced by Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Francis Rooney (R-FL), would require certain drug manufacturers to submit documentation to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) before increasing the price of a qualifying drug.  The bill was amended in Subcommittee and includes provisions from the following bills: H.R. 2115, the “Public Disclosures of Drug Discounts Act,” introduced by Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) and Jodey Arrington (R-TX); H.R. 2376, the “Prescription Pricing for the People Act,” introduced by Reps. Doug Collins (R-GA) and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY); H.R. 2064, the “Sunshine for Samples Act,” introduced by Reps. Judy Chu (D-CA) and Devin Nunes (R-CA); H.R. 2087, the “Drug Price Transparency Act,” introduced by Reps. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL).  The bill was passed, as amended, by voice vote.

H.R. 2328, the “Reauthorizing and Extending America’s Community Health Act” or  the “REACH Act,” introduced by Reps. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY), would reauthorize and extend funding for community health centers through the Community Health Center Fund (CHC Fund), the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program, the Special Diabetes Program and the Special Diabetes Program for Indians, Family to Family Health Information Centers, the Personal Responsibility Education Program, the Sexual Risk Avoidance Program, and extensions of certain expiring Medicare programs.  The bill was passed, as amended, by voice vote.

An AINS was offered to H.R. 2328, which incorporated H.R. 3631, the “Territories Health Care Improvement Act,” introduced by Reps. Darren Soto (D-FL) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), which would increase Medicaid funding for the U.S. Territories and increase the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP), and H.R. 3630, the “No Surprises Act,” introduced by Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR), which would remove the “surprise” from billing by completely protecting patients from emergency situations, patients who did not specifically choose to see an out-of-network physician for scheduled care, and patients in situations where there is no in-network provider available to treat them.  The AINS, as amended, was adopted by voice vote.

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