May 21: The continuous drumbeat against drug prices continues with a House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee hearing titled “Improving Drug Price Transparency and Lowering Prices for Americans.” It’s the first hearing since the Trump administration finalized a rule requiring drug companies to publicize list prices of their products in TV ads.
May 21: The other hot topic with bipartisan support—addressing the problem of surprise medical billing—is the focus of a House Ways and Means health subcommittee hearing. It comes a couple of weeks after the Trump administration spelled out its principles for legislation ending surprise billing, including a ban on balance billing for emergency care and mandating that patients scheduled for nonemergency care should be given “a transparent bill upfront.” And it comes a week after leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee put out draft legislation that includes a provision that would require insurers to pay out-of-network clinicians based on what they’d pay similar physicians in their networks.
May 23: It’s not every week that the House Natural Resources Committee makes it into this column. The committee is holding a hearing on Medicaid and American Samoa. “This is an important and timely topic for American Samoa,” said Rep. Aumua Amata, who represents the U.S. territory. “I appreciate the leadership of the Natural Resources Committee devoting this hearing to our insular areas and Medicaid, including my friend, Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, who serves as vice chairman for Insular Affairs.” Amata, a Republican, noted that the Affordable Care Act alloted $197 million in Medicaid funding for American Samoa, but “over $100 million has been unused and is to expire at the end of the fiscal year. … This Medicaid hearing will examine ways forward to improve on the program, and continue ensuring that all American Samoans can access this much-needed healthcare.”