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Pallone Praises Committee Passage of 26 Health Bills

Sep 9, 2020
Press Release

Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) released the following statement today after the full Committee voted to advance 26 health bills to the full House of Representatives:

“Today, the full Energy and Commerce Committee passed 26 health bills including legislation to expand access to mental health services, combat the opioid epidemic, reauthorize key public health programs, improve Medicare enrollment, streamline public health data sharing for Tribes and facilitate access to marijuana for research.

“Many of these bills are particularly important as millions of Americans report the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected their mental health and as substance use and overdoses are on the rise.  Taken together, it is my hope that these bills will provide resources and support to those in need as we continue to work together to respond to this national public health crisis.

“I want to thank the members on both sides of the aisle for their hard work to advance these bills to the full House.”

The Committee favorably reported the following bills:

H.R. 1379, the “Ensuring Lasting Smiles Act,” which was introduced by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), would require all individual and group market health insurance plans to cover medically necessary treatment resulting from congenital abnormalities or birth defects.  The bill requires plans to provide coverage for any service or treatment that is medically necessary to restore or achieve a normal appearance or function of the body.  An Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute (AINS) was adopted to make technical and conforming changes to the bill.  The bill was passed, as amended, by voice vote.  

H.R. 945, the “Mental Health Access Improvement Act of 2019,” which was introduced by Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and John Katko (R-NY), would provide for coverage of marriage and family therapist services and mental health counselor services under Medicare Part B.  An AINS was adopted to add a study on the impact of the legislation, to include marriage and family therapist services and mental health counselor services in skilled nursing facility consolidated billing, and to make technical and conforming changes.  The bill was passed, as amended by voice vote.

H.R. 2564, the “Medicare Enrollment Protection Act,” which was introduced by Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL), would create a Medicare Part B special enrollment period (SEP) for individuals enrolled in coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) and would exempt individuals enrolling through such SEP from the Part B late enrollment penalty.  The bill would also require the Secretary of Labor to update COBRA continuation coverage election notices to include an explanation of Medicare secondary payer rules with respect to COBRA.  An AINS was adopted that would prohibit health plans from reducing COBRA benefits on the basis that an individual is eligible for Part B when the individual is not enrolled in Part B and make other technical and conforming changes.  The bill was passed, as amended, by voice vote.   

H.R. 8158, a bill to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to waive budget neutrality for oxygen under the Medicare program, and for other purposes, which was introduced by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and David Loebsack (D-IA), would specify that the budget neutrality requirement for establishing new payment classes of oxygen and oxygen equipment no longer applies and would make a technical correction to the placement of this provision in the statute.  The bill was passed by voice vote.   

H.R. 2075, the “School-Based Health Centers Reauthorization Act of 2019,” which was introduced by Reps. John Sarbanes (D-MD), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Fred Upton (R-MI), would reauthorize funding for the school-based health centers program through Fiscal Year (FY) 2024, and make technical changes, including allowing more health centers serving medically underserved children and adolescents to qualify for funding.  The bill was passed by voice vote.

H.R. 4078, the “EARLY Act Reauthorization of 2019,” which was introduced by Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Susan Brooks (R-IN), would reauthorize the “Young Women’s Breast Health Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young Act of 2009.”  This program was authorized and funded at $4.9 million each year from FY 2015 through FY 2019.  The bill would increase the authorization to $9 million each year from FY 2020 through FY 2024.  The bill was passed by voice vote.

H.R. 4764, the “Timely ReAuthorization of Necessary Stem-cell Programs Lends Access to Needed Therapies Act of 2019” or the “TRANSPLANT Act of 2019,” which was introduced by Reps. Doris Matsui (D-CA), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Chellie Pingree (D-ME), would reauthorize the C.W. Bill Young Transplantation Program at level funding of $30 million each year from FY 2021 through FY 2025.  The bill would also require Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Advisory Council on Blood Stem Cell Transplantation to meet at least twice a year and require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to review the state of the science related to adult stem cells and birthing tissues for the purpose of potentially including these innovative therapies in the Program.  The bill would also reauthorize the cord blood inventory program under the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005 at level funding of $23 million for each year from FY 2021 through FY 2025.  The bill was passed by voice vote.

H.R. 5855, the “Bipartisan Solution to Cyclical Violence Act of 2020,” which was introduced by Reps. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), would create a grant program at HHS to support trauma centers with violence intervention and violence prevention programs.  Program support would be provided to conduct research to reduce the incidence of re-injury and re-incarceration caused by intentional violent trauma, excluding intimate partner violence.  The bill was passed by voice vote.

H.R. 3131, the “South Asian Heart Health Awareness and Research Act of 2020,” which was introduced by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), would authorize Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) grants to States for awareness initiatives, educational materials, and research catalogs for South Asian heart health.  In addition, the bill would authorize the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct or support heart health research among the South Asian population.  An AINS was adopted to authorize the Secretary of HHS to award heart health promotion grants to States for awareness initiatives, educational materials, and training workshops.  The AINS also authorizes the Secretary of HHS to conduct or support research regarding heart health-related ailments among at risk populations, including the South Asian populations.  The AINS would also allow the Secretary to establish a research catalogs for existing heart health research and treatment options. The bill was passed, as amended, by voice vote.

H.R. 7948, the “Tribal Health Data Improvement Act of 2020,” which was introduced by Reps. Greg Gianforte (R-MT), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ) and Raul Ruiz (D-CA), would encourage improved public health data sharing among CDC, Indian Tribes, Tribal organizations, and Tribal Epidemiology Centers.  The bill would also reauthorize CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.  An AINS was adopted that would, among other things, ensure the safety of data being shared among entities, increase the authorization level for the National Center for Health Statistics to provide funding for the new authorities in this legislation, require CDC to issue a report on best practices and guidelines for data sharing agreements, and make technical and conforming changes to the bill.   The bill was passed, as amended, by voice vote.

H.R. 5373, the “United States Anti-Doping Agency Reauthorization Act of 2019,” which was introduced by Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA), Bill Johnson (R-OH) and Diana DeGette (D-CO), would reauthorize the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) through the end of FY 2027.  The FY 2020 authorization is set at $14.8 million.  In anticipation of hosting the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, the bill would steadily increase the authorization to $22.8 million by FY 2027.  It would also direct the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to coordinate with USADA efforts to prevent the use of performance-enhancing drugs or prohibit performance-enhancing methods by sharing all information in their possession that may be relevant to preventing the use of such drugs or prohibiting such methods.  An AINS was adopted to revise the authorization to run from FY 2021 through FY 2029 and to make technical and conforming changes to the bill.  The bill was passed, as amended, by voice vote.

H.R. 2281, the “Easy Medication Access and Treatment for Opioid Addiction Act” or the “Easy MAT for Opioid Addiction Act,” which was introduced by Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA), would require the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to revise regulations within 180 days of enactment to allow a practitioner to dispense up to a three-day supply of narcotic drugs to an individual for the purpose of maintenance or detoxification treatment at one time. An AINS was adopted to make technical and conforming changes to the bill.  The bill was passed, as amended, by voice vote.

H.R. 2466, the “State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act,” which was introduced by Reps. David Trone (D-MD), Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) and Denver Riggleman (R-VA), would authorize the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) State Opioid Response Grants program.  An AINS was adopted to align the State Opioid Response Grants program with SAMHSA grant authority provided through the 21st Century Cures Act.  The AINS would also authorize the program through FY 2026.   The bill was passed, as amended, by voice vote.

H.R. 3878, the “Block, Report, And Suspend Shipments Act of 2019,” which was introduced by Reps. David B. McKinley (R-WV) and Debbie Dingell (D-MI), would create additional requirements for drug manufacturers and distributors who discover a suspicious order for controlled substances.  In addition to reporting the suspicious order to DEA, the bill would require a manufacturer or distributor to exercise due diligence, decline to fill the order or series of orders, notify DEA of each suspicious order or series of orders and the indicators that led to the belief that filling such orders would be a violation.  These requirements would become effective six months following enactment. A manager’s amendment was adopted to make a technical change to the bill.  The bill was passed, as amended,  by voice vote.

H.R. 4812, the “Ensuring Compliance Against Drug Diversion Act of 2019,” which was introduced by Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA), would terminate the controlled substance registration of any registrant if the registrant dies, ceases legal existence, discontinues business or professional practice, or surrenders registration.  A registrant who ceases legal existence or discontinues business is required to notify DEA.  Registrants must receive written consent from DEA in order to assign or transfer a registration.  Registrants are also required to return certain documentation if a registrant’s work is discontinued.  The bill was passed by voice vote.

H.R. 3797, the “Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2019,” which was 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), would direct the Secretary of HHS to ensure a supply of marijuana for research purposes through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Drug Supply Program.  Among other provisions, the bill would direct NIDA and HHS to act on marijuana research registration applications within 30 days prior to supplying marijuana through the NIDA Drug Supply Program.  The bill would direct FDA to issue guidelines on the production of marijuana and to encourage authorized researchers and manufacturers to produce marijuana, in coordination with the law.   An AINS was adopted to allow for research utilizing marijuana from State authorized marijuana programs, ensure researchers are in compliance with FDA guidance, and make technical and conforming changes to the bill.  The bill was passed, as amended, by voice vote.

H.R. 4806, “Debarment Enforcement of Bad Actor Registrants Act of 2019” or the “DEBAR Act of 2019,” which was introduced by Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), would amend the Controlled Substances Act to allow the Attorney General to prohibit any registrant from manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing a controlled substance or a list I chemical if that registrant meets or has met any of the conditions for suspension or revocation of registration under subsection (a) of the Act, or is found unfit to manufacture, distribute, or dispense a controlled substance or a list I chemical. A manager’s amendment was adopted to clarify the conditions under which the Attorney General can debar a registrant.  The bill was passed, as amended, by voice vote.

H.R. 2519, the “Improving Mental Health Access from the Emergency Department Act of 2019,” which was introduced by Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA), would authorize SAMHSA to award grants to qualifying emergency departments for the purpose of supporting mental health services.  Grant recipients would be required to use funds to support the provision of follow-up services for individuals who present for care of acute mental health episodes, such as placement in appropriate facilities.  A manager’s amendment was adopted to make technical and conforming changes to the bill.  The bill was passed, as amended, by voice vote.

H.R. 4861, the “Effective Suicide Screening and Assessment in the Emergency Department Act of 2019,” which was introduced by Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Eliot Engel (D-NY), would create a grant program to improve the identification, assessment, and treatment of patients in emergency departments who are at risk for suicide by: (1) developing policies and procedures for identifying and assessing individuals who are at risk of suicide; and (2) enhancing the coordination of care for such individuals after discharge.  The bill was passed by voice vote.

H.R. 1109, the “Mental Health Services for Students Act,” which was introduced by Reps. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) and John Katko (R-NY), would expand and increase funding for existing SAMHSA grants to support mental health services at schools throughout the country.  The program would fund grants that allow for prevention screening for social, emotional, mental, and behavioral issues, including suicide or substance use disorders; treatment and referral for these issues; development of evidence-based programs for students experiencing these issues; and other strategies for schools to treat students.  An AINS was adopted to streamline the proposed program and to make technical and conforming changes to the bill.  The bill was passed, as amended, by voice vote. 

H.R. 3539, the “Behavioral Intervention Guidelines Act of 2019,” which was introduced by Reps. Drew Ferguson (R-GA), Michael Burgess (R-TX), Joe Kennedy (D-MA) and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), would require SAMHSA to develop best practices for schools to establish behavioral intervention teams and properly train them on how to intervene and avoid inappropriate use of mental health assessments and law enforcement.  No later than one year after enactment, best practices shall be made publicly available on a website of HHS.  A manager’s amendment was adopted to make technical and conforming changes to the bill.  The bill was passed, as amended, by voice vote. 

H.R. 7293, the “Suicide Training and Awareness Nationally Delivered for Universal Prevention Act of 2020” or the “STANDUP Act of 2020,” which was introduced by Reps. Scott Peters (D-CA), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), would require State and Tribal educational agencies that receive priority mental health grants under Section 520A of the Public Health Service Act to establish and implement a school-based student suicide awareness and prevention training policy, and collect information on training activities.  An AINS was adopted to ensure the school-based policies are culturally and linguistically appropriate and to make technical and conforming changes to the bill.  The bill was passed, as amended, by voice vote. 

H.R. 5469, the “Pursuing Equity in Mental Health Act of 2019,” which was introduced by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), would:  authorize grants targeted at high-poverty communities for culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health services;  support research into disparities in mental health; and  reauthorize the Minority Fellowship Program to support more students of color entering the mental health workforce, among other things.  An AINS was adopted that strikes Title I of the legislation, and makes other technical and conforming changes to the bill.  The bill was passed, as amended, by voice vote. 

H.R. 5572, the “Family Support Services for Addiction Act of 2020,” which was introduced by Reps. David Trone (D-MD) and Dan Meuser (R-PA), would authorize grants at SAMHSA to support family community organizations that develop, expand, and enhance evidence-informed family support services.  A manager’s amendment was adopted to make technical and conforming changes to the bill.  The bill was passed, as amended, by voice vote. 

H.R. 4499, the “NIMHD Research Endowment Revitalization Act of 2019,” which was introduced by Reps. Nanette Barragán (D-CA) and Buddy Carter (R-GA), would authorize the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities to facilitate research on minority health disparities through research endowments at current or former centers of excellence.  The bill was passed by voice vote. 

H.R. 4439, the “Creating Hope Reauthorization Act,” which was introduced by Reps. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) and Michael McCaul (R-TX), would eliminate the sunset on the pediatric rare priority review voucher program at FDA.  An AINS was adopted to extend the program for four years.  The bill was passed, as amended, by voice vote. 

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