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On the Hill: Negotiations Continue on Spending, Drug Pricing Bills

The House returns this week poised to continue negotiations on fiscal year (FY) 2020 spending bills before current funding levels expire on Nov. 21.

The federal government currently operates under temporary funding through a continuing resolution (CR) that includes an extension of FY 2019 funding levels for key health care programs, including Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) has announced the chamber next week will consider a short-term spending bill to extend the CR. To determine the length of the extension, senior lawmakers are negotiating on the level of funding for federal programs, including Medicaid DSH, and the president’s wall along the southern border with Mexico, among other priorities.

Rx Pricing Negotiations Continue

House Democratic leadership announced the chamber will delay until December a vote on the Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3).

The legislation cannot be considered for a vote on the House floor until the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) completes a full analysis of the measure. In October, CBO released a preliminary analysis of the bill that estimated the price negotiation provisions (Title I) would generate $345 billion in savings for the federal budget and result in up to 15 fewer drugs released in the marketplace over the next 10 years.

Meanwhile, Senate leadership discussions continue on various bipartisan drug pricing proposals, including the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act (S. 2543). Republican leaders await a written CBO analysis of the bill before deciding whether to hold a vote by the full Senate.

Upcoming Congressional Hearings

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions will hold a Nov. 13 hearing to examine the response to lung illnesses and rising electronic cigarette use among young people. Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration will testify.

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform will hold a Nov. 14 hearing to examine state efforts to undermine access to reproductive health care. Additionally, the House Committee on Ways and Means will hold a Nov. 14 hearing on caring for aging Americans.

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence will hold the first public hearings on the House impeachment inquiry of the president on Nov. 13 and Nov. 15.

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About the Author

Erin Delaney is the legislative affairs associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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