Thursday, December 12, 2019

House Meets at… Votes Predicted at…
9:00 a.m. Legislative Business
Five “One Minutes” Per Side
First/ Last Votes: 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.



Floor Schedule and Procedure:

Under a Rule (1 bill):

Complete Consideration of H.R. 3 – Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019 (Rep. Pallone/Rep. Neal/Rep. Scott (VA) – Energy and Commerce/Ways and Means/Education and Labor)

This bill provides the authority, mandate, and tools for the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate to lower the price of drugs and caps annual out-of-pocket costs in Medicare Part D.  The savings generated from lowering drug costs in H.R. 3 will be reinvested with the goals of lowering out-of-pocket costs and closing coverage gaps for Medicare beneficiaries and investing critical funding in innovative new treatments and our fight against the opioid crisis.

Click here for a fact sheet from the Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, and Education and Labor Committees.

The Rule, which was adopted yesterday, provides for three hours equally divided among and controlled by the respective Chairs and Ranking Members of the Committees on Education and Labor, Energy and Commerce, and Ways and Means.  The Rule also provides for one hour equally divided and controlled by the Majority Leader and the Minority Leader or their respective designees and makes in order the following amendments:

Walden Amendment
An amendment in the nature of a substitute, which does not include the ability for the secretary to lower drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries as well as workers in employer-sponsored insurance, does not include important provisions capping drug price hikes for consumers, does not include provisions providing a $2,000 out of pocket cap on Medicare beneficiaries’ drug costs, includes provisions related to (1) Medicare Parts B & D, (2) drug price transparency, (3) Medicare Part D benefit redesign and other Part D provisions, (4) MedPAC, (5) Medicaid, (6) FDA (including CREATES Act; Pay-for-delay; BLOCKING Act; Purple Book; Orange Book; Advancing education on biosimilars; Streamlining transition of biological products; OTC monograph safety, innovation, and reform; and other provisions), (7) revenue provisions, and (8) other bi-partisan provisions. Removes dental, vision, and hearing coverage for Medicare beneficiaries.
Tonko Amendment 
Requires CMS to create and implement a measure in the Star Ratings program evaluating Medicare Advantage and Part D plans on how well they provide access to biosimilar drugs.
Peters Amendment
Amends the Public Health Service Act to authorize a pilot program to develop, expand, and enhance the commercialization of biomedical products, and for other purposes.
Kennedy Amendment
Requires another Senate confirmed officer with HHS to carry out the negotiation duties should the Secretary of HHS have a conflict of interest. The General Counsel of HHS would be responsible for identifying these conflicts.
O’Halleran Amendment
Creates a grant program within HHS for hospitals located in rural and medically underserved areas, including Critical Access Hospitals, to cover the start-up costs for establishing a Graduate Medical Education (GME) program or a partnership with a hospital that has an existing program. It includes a reporting requirement for GAO to analyze whether residents continue to practice in a rural or medically underserved area after completing their training.
Jackson Lee Amendment
Expresses the Sense of Congress regarding the impact of the high cost of prescription drugs on communities of color and persons living in rural or sparsely populated areas of the United States.
Gottheimer Amendment
Requires an HHS study to identify conditions without an FDA-approved treatment where the development of a treatment would fill an unmet medical need for a serious or life-threatening condition or rare disease. Requires HHS to identify appropriate incentives that would lead to the development of such treatments.
Axne Amendment
Establishes a grant program for states to reduce the burdens associated with health care administrative work and reduces HHS administrative costs by 50% over 10 years.
Finkenauer Amendment
Requires drug companies to disclose truthful and non-misleading pricing information about prescription drugs and biological products when they advertise these products directly to consumers.
Luria Amendment
Makes clear that federal employee health plans are covered by the price reduction provisions of the bill.
Cunningham Amendment
Allows the Veteran’s Administration to benefit from Maximum Fair Pricing guidelines.
Scanlon Amendment
Increases funding for clinical trials at NIH and bans the use of spread pricing by PBMs as it relates to Medicaid.

As of last night, the House has completed three hours of general debate on H.R. 3 and will continue with one hour of general debate and amendment debate today.


“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”

Hellen Keller