The House vote on the Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019 (H.R. 3), initially scheduled for this week, has been postponed to allot more time for the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to review the bill before providing an official score.
The comprehensive drug pricing legislation, introduced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), has been reviewed by three House committees of jurisdiction, including the House committees on Energy and Commerce, Education and Labor, and Ways and Means. The bill aims to lower the cost of prescription drugs, in part by authorizing the Medicare program to negotiate the price it pays for up to 250 of the costliest prescription drugs that do not have a generic or biosimilar alternative.
Earlier this month, CBO released a partial budgetary analysis estimating the bill would generate $345 billion in savings for the federal budget. CBO also estimated the legislation would result in up to 15 fewer drugs released in the marketplace over the next 10 years.
House leaders last week announced the bill will go to a vote on the House floor in mid-November.
Senate HELP Health Care Legislation Markup
The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) will hold an Oct. 31 markup of several health care bills, including the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2019 (S. 1399), which would reauthorize the extension of nursing workforce development programs in areas that have a nursing workforce shortage.
The markup also includes bills related to several public health programs, including to reauthorize the Lifespan Respite Care and Healthy Start programs. The committee also will consider legislation to reform the over-the-counter drug distribution process.
Additional Congressional Hearings
The Senate Committee on Finance will hold an Oct. 30 hearing on Medicaid eligibility requirements.
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health will hold an Oct. 30 hearing on safeguarding the pharmaceutical supply chains in a global economy.