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On the Hill: PAHPA Advances; Labor-HHS Appropriations

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health marked up 17 bills last week, including a measure to reauthorize the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) that drew fire from Democrats for failing to address drug shortages.

Despite those criticisms, the bill narrowly passed with a party-line vote and will advance to an upcoming full committee markup. Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) has announced the committee’s intention to release a drug shortage discussion draft in response to “robust” feedback gathered by a bicameral request for information (RFI); America’s Essential Hospitals replied to that RFI on behalf of its members.

Appropriations Process Underway

On July 14, the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education marked up and passed the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Bill. This constituted the first step to set federal funding for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other health-related agencies important to essential hospitals. As it stands, the bill would provide $163 billion for programs under the department’s jurisdiction, 28 percent below the FY 2023 enacted level, and focuses on several Republican policy priorities.

The full committee will now consider the bill. It is important to remember Labor-HHS appropriations will change significantly before passing the full Congress, as the Senate and House will need to resolve differences in their respective versions.

Committee Activity This Week

Both chambers are in session four days this week and have just two weeks left before the August recess.

The Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee will hold a hearing, Innovation Saves Lives: Evaluating Medicare Coverage Pathways for Innovative Drugs, Medical Devices, and Technology, July 18, at 10:30 am ET.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions will examine PAHPA in an executive session July 20, at 10:30 am ET.

The Senate Committee on Finance will hold a hearing, The Cost of Inaction and the Urgent Need to Reform the U.S. Transplant System, July 20, at 10 am ET.

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