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Parliamentarian Rules Against 10 BCRA Provisions, Including Waiting Period, Abortion Restrictions

The Senate Parliamentarian on Friday ruled that key pieces of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) -- including provisions implementing the six-month waiting period, restricting use of tax credits to buy abortion coverage and defunding Planned Parenthood -- violate the Budget Rules and must be removed from the legislation unless the decision is overturned by 60 votes.

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A highly contested and yet-to-be-finalized rule on generic drug labeling has been moved from immediate priority to long-term priority on the White House Office of Management and Budget's road map for the year's upcoming regulations.

FDA is stopping work on several key rules including those regulating compounding, direct-to-consumer prescription drug advertising, child-focused tobacco sales, dietary supplement manufacturing practices and food safety testing, according to a list published Friday (July 21) by the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Republicans and Democrats supported repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board at a House Energy & Commerce health subcommittee hearing Thursday (July 20), but Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) cautioned against eliminating an independent panel that could be more willing than lawmakers to lay out steps necessary to curb the rise in Medicare spending.

House Energy & Commerce lawmakers said they’d like to overhaul the system for reimbursing physical therapy, instead of continually extending exceptions to the caps on Medicare pay for those services.

The House Energy & Commerce health subcommittee will hold a hearing Wednesday (July 26) on Medicare special needs plans, according to a committee release, and health insurance sources said committee members are leaning toward making all types of SNPs permanent, unlike House Ways & Means Committee members who last week voted for a five-year reauthorization of two types of SNPs and permanent reauthorization of the third type.

House Energy & Commerce ranking Democrat Frank Pallone (NJ) is writing drug pricing legislation that includes a laundry list of policies, including revoking exclusivity when companies promote off-label uses or otherwise break the law, allowing Medicare price negotiation by repealing the noninterference clause, imposing penalties for misclassification under the Medicaid rebate program and requiring price transparency.

The Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously advanced a fiscal 2018 FDA funding bill out of committee Thursday (July 20) that adds $1 million in discretionary funding for FDA over the fiscal 2017 enacted level, totaling $2.8 billion, and adds $60 million in additional funding for the agency to implement the 21st Century Cures Act.