Diabetes Caucus Makes Insulin Price Inquiry

The Co-Chairs of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus, Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), have written to three pharmaceutical trade associations requesting information about the rising price of insulin. The members wrote to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, and America’s Health Insurance Plans. According to Reps. DeGette and Reed, the average price of insulin tripled between 2002 and 2013, on top of the higher deductibles, coinsurance, and formulary exclusions faced by patients. The lawmakers state that they have received conflicting information on insulin prices from industry, and request a response by July 28.

Committee Holds Hearing on Attorney Advertising

On Friday June 23, the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice held a hearing entitled “Examining Ethical Responsibilities Regarding Attorney Advertising.” The hearing focused on misleading advertisements by trial lawyers that are frightening patients off their medications. Thirteen interested groups, including the Alliance of Specialty Medicine and the Heart Rhythm Society, submitted statements for the record. The witness testimony can be accessed here.

Trump Administration Staff Announcements

Thomas Bowman has been selected as Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA). Bowman is currently the majority staff director for the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, and has previously worked at the VA. He retired as a colonel after 30 years in the Marine Corps. Lance Robertson has been tapped for the position of assistant secretary for aging within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Robertson is a gerontologist and has served as Oklahoma’s director of aging services for the last 10 years. Emily Felder has been hired as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service’s (CMS) director of the Office of Legislation. She previously worked as the majority counsel for the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Upcoming Congressional Hearings and Meetings

House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; markup of FY 2018 Agriculture Appropriations Bill; 10:00 a.m., 2362-A Rayburn Bldg.; June 28

House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations; hearing on H.R. 2006; H.R. 2749; H.R. 2781; and a draft bill to improve the hiring, training, and efficiency of acquisition personnel and organizations of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes; 10:00 a.m., 334 Cannon Bldg.; June 29

Recently Introduced Health Legislation

S.1377 (introduced by Sen. Roger F. Wicker): A bill to remove the limitation on certain amounts for which large nonrural hospitals may be reimbursed under the Healthcare Connect Fund of the Federal Communications Commission, and for other purposes; Commerce, Science, and Transportation

H.R. 2938 (introduced by Rep. Norcross): A bill to amend titles XIX and XXI of the Social Security Act to remove barriers to access to residential substance use disorder treatment services under Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); Energy and Commerce

H.R. 2953 (introduced by Rep. Burgess): A bill to amend the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 respecting the scoring of preventive health savings; Budget

H.R. 2957 (introduced by Rep. Graves): A bill to amend titles XVIII and XIX of the Social Security Act to provide for enhanced payments to rural health care providers under the Medicare and Medicaid programs, and for other purposes; Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, Budget

H.R. 2959 (introduced by Rep. Lujan): A bill to amend title XXI of the Social Security Act to allow for parent mentors to be eligible to receive outreach and enrollment grants under the Children’s Health Insurance Program under such title, and for other purposes; Energy and Commerce

H.R. 2972 (introduced by Rep. Waters): A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to authorize grants for training and support services for Alzheimer’s patients and their families; Energy and Commerce

H.R. 2973 (introduced by Rep. Waters): A bill to provide for the issuance of an Alzheimer’s Disease Research Semipostal Stamp; Oversight and Government Reform, Energy and Commerce

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