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Three House Medicare Hospital Bills Introduced Wednesday That Build Toward Major Legislation This Fall

Three Medicare bills related to hospitals were introduced Wednesday (July 29) in the House, according to a Ways & Means GOP memo that tells staff to get ready for a “heavy lift” that “will require a significant amount of help and guidance from all of subcommittee offices.”

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Acting FDA Commissioner Stephen Ostroff told the agency’s Science Board that user fee negotiations cannot occur in isolation from the ongoing debate surrounding the House-passed 21st Century Cures bill and the Senate’s complimentary medical innovation effort, saying the congressional initiatives directly impinge upon user fee talks.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) are urging city and county leaders across the country to demand affordable prices for a drug used by first responders to counteract the effects of heroin and other opioid overdoses.

Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean (D) said Wednesday (July 29) the government may not need to negotiate drug prices in Medicare because insurance companies already negotiate drug prices in Part D and price controls could ruin drug research.

The Senate on Monday (July 27) passed the Notice of Observation Treatment and Implication for Care Eligibility Act, and the legislation to notify beneficiaries when they are put under observation rather than admitted to the hospital will now go to President Barack Obama's desk.

Sen. Ron Wyden (OR), ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, said Tuesday (June 28) that Medicare and Medicaid should pay for drugs based on their value, and he believes it's possible for the two parties to negotiate a value-based pay policy.

Senate health committee working groups are looking at legislation that would create a pathway for FDA to approve an antibacterial drug for a limited population, said a legislative assistant Tuesday (July 28).

Community oncologists say the drug-price control recommendations by 118 cancer doctors that made national headlines last week are misguided because most of the doctors behind the suggestions work for large, teaching hospitals where cancer care is more expensive than at cancer clinics.

National Institutes of Health officials worked closely with Senate staff to revamp a draft NIH-wide Strategic Plan framework to play up the more exciting, cross-disciplinary approaches underway at the agency, NIH Principal Deputy Director Lawrence Tabak told Inside Health Policy.