Last week lawmakers in both the House and Senate introduced a consensus bill to repeal the Medicare physician payment system, which is partially based on the sustainable growth rate (SGR). This bill merged the bills passed last year in the Senate Finance, House Ways and Means, and House Energy and Commerce committees. House and Senate negotiators have yet to determine whether any extensions of Medicare and Medicaid programs will be included as part of the bill package and how the bill will be offset.

Reps. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA) have each begun campaigning to take over Henry Waxman’s (D-CA) role as ranking member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. After serving in the House for 40 years, Waxman will retire at the end of this term.

Yesterday, the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held a hearing to examine drug shortages, focusing on the committee’s past bipartisan work around preventing and stopping drug shortages, a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on drug shortages, and the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) work to mitigate the shortages. Marcia Crosse, director of health care at GAO, and Douglas Throckmorton, deputy director of regulatory programs at the FDA, appeared as witnesses.