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From the Committee

Jan 31, 2023
Press Release
Chairs Rodgers, Smith and Reps. Burgess, Wenstrup Introduce Legislation to Ban QALYs

Bill Would Protect Individuals with Disabilities from Discrimination 

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), House Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith (R-MO), and GOP Doctors Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Brad Wenstrup, D.P.M. (R-OH), and Rep. Michael Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), announced introduction of H.R. 485, the Protecting Health Care for All Patients Act, which would expand access to lifesaving cures and prevent discrimination against Americans with disabilities. The House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Health will consider the bill at a February 1, 2023, legislative hearing titled: Lives Worth Living: Addressing the Fentanyl Crisis, Protecting Critical Lifelines, and Combatting Discrimination Against Those with Disabilities.”   

"All lives are worth living. It’s unconscionable that a health care bureaucracy would so callously determine that someone’s life is worth less. They deserve every chance to have hope and reach their full potential. The ‘quality-adjusted life years’ measurement is used to discriminate against people with chronic illnesses and disabilities, like cystic fibrosis, ALS, or Down syndrome, putting them at the back of the line for treatment. Moving this legislation will be a priority for our committee,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers. 

“Washington bureaucrats have no business picking and choosing which Americans are worthy of receiving treatment for serious, and often life-threatening, health issues,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith. “The ‘quality-adjusted life years’ measurement is discriminatory, morally bankrupt, and has no place in our health care system. I’m proud to join Chair Rodgers and Congressmen Burgess and Wenstrup in this effort to halt the government’s shameless attempt to decide if someone’s life is worth living.” 

"I practiced as an Ob/Gyn for nearly 30 years. During that time, I treated each patient as a human being, not just a diagnosis. Quality-Adjusted Life Year (QALY) measurements are cruel and inhibit physicians' ability to care for and treat all patients with dignity. The government should never have the ability to decide the value of a life to approve or deny care. All human life has inherent value and should be treated as such," said Rep. Michael Burgess, M.D. 

“I am proud to join my colleagues to introduce legislation that stops the use of quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) in Federal programs. QALY measurements put a dollar value on a person’s life, often devaluing the lives of those with chronic illnesses and disabilities. As a physician, I believe it is vitally important that our health care system values all lives and ensures that every person is treated with dignity,” said Rep. Brad Wenstrup, D.P.M. 

Background: 

H.R. 485 would prohibit the use of quality adjusted life years (QALYs) in all federal programs—an expansion from the current prohibition that only applies in a limited fashion to the Medicare program. 

The controversial metric intentionally devalues treatments for disabled individuals and those with chronic illnesses for purposes of determining whether the treatment is cost-effective enough to be paid for by the federal government. The use of QALYs is a clear form of discrimination. The bill would also prohibit the importation of price-controls from countries that use QALYs, which are a socialist trademark of government-run health insurance programs. 

What They’re Saying:

“It’s hard to believe that it’s 2023 and patients with chronic illness are fighting to be treated like human beings. Congress can transform the lives of Americans with chronic disease by stopping the government use of an arbitrary metric that decides what our lives are worth,” said Terry Wilcox, CEO of Patients Rising. “Chair Rodgers didn’t waste any time defending the rights of the patients who will overwhelmingly be the targets of this calculation when determining access to care. She knows they are not worth less than anyone else, and we’re eager to join that fight.” 

"The use of Quality-Adjusted Life Years is a longstanding concern in the disability community, especially in health care. The QALY inappropriately devalues the lives of people with disabilities and chronic conditions like epilepsy and can result in discriminatory limits on access needed health care services and treatments. We are glad to see this legislation to ban their use in federal health care programs included in the first hearing of the Energy & Commerce health subcommittee this Congress,” said Laura Weidner, Vice President of Government Relations & Advocacy, Epilepsy Foundation. 

“The quality-adjusted life year (QALY) devalues the lives of older adults, people with disabilities and chronic conditions, and communities of color. The National Council on Disability has repeatedly warned against the use of QALYs in healthcare decision making because it would undermine major U.S. disability and civil rights laws, including the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said Sue Peschin, MHS, President and CEO of the Alliance for Aging Research. “Despite the obvious negative impacts on health equity, payers—including private insurers, the Veterans Administration, and state Medicaid agencies—are increasingly utilizing QALY-based cost-effectiveness analyses from the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) to ration access for FDA-approved treatments. It is time for these harmful practices to stop. The Alliance applauds Energy & Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Ways & Means Chair Jason Smith, and Doc Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Brad Wenstrup and Rep. Michael Burgess for their leadership on the introduction of the Protecting Health Care for All Patients Act of 2023 and urges Congress to pass this vital legislation.” 

“National Right to Life applauds Chairs Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Jason Smith as well as Reps. Michael Burgess and Brad Wenstrup for introducing the ‘Protecting Health Care for All Patients Act.’ This legislation would prevent the use of Quality-Adjusted Life Year (QALY) or similar metrics in health coverage. QALYs are an inherently discriminatory system of rationing used to assess a person’s anticipated lifespan and whether treatment will be ‘cost effective.’ QALYs apply a score to a person’s health and penalize a person who has a disability. QALYs are being used by some health care systems and payers to determine whether a patient who is judged—by others—to have a ‘diminished quality of life’ should receive health care coverage. National Right to Life strongly supports this life-affirming, dignity-enhancing legislation," said Jennifer Popik, Director of Federal Legislation at the National Right to Life Committee.

"As the mother of a child with a disability, I'm deeply disturbed by the federal government's use of QALY; it is a dehumanizing methodology that discriminates against the elderly and sickest among us. I've seen how life-saving drugs that help fight my daughter's cystic fibrosis have been denied in other countries because government bureaucrats have deemed it 'too costly.' That is unacceptable and will lead us on a path toward socialized medicine. Thankfully, this legislation will help provide access to care that Americans deserve and send an important moral statement that our nation cares for our most vulnerable," said Mary Vought, Fellow at the Independent Women’s Voice and former National Council on Disability Council Member 


More News & Announcements


Jan 31, 2023
Press Release

Chairs Rodgers, Smith and Reps. Burgess, Wenstrup Introduce Legislation to Ban QALYs

Bill Would Protect Individuals with Disabilities from Discrimination  Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), House Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith (R-MO), and GOP Doctors Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Brad Wenstrup, D.P.M. (R-OH), and Rep. Michael Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), announced introduction of H.R. 485, the Protecting Health Care for All Patients Act , which would expand access to lifesaving cures and prevent discrimination against Americans with disabilities. The House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Health will consider the bill at a February 1, 2023, legislative hearing titled: “ Lives Worth Living: Addressing the Fentanyl Crisis, Protecting Critical Lifelines, and Combatting Discrimination Against Those with Disabilities .”     "All lives are worth living. It’s unconscionable that a health care bureaucracy would so callously determine that someone’s life is worth less. They deserve every chance to have hope and reach their full potential. The ‘quality-adjusted life years’ measurement is used to discriminate against people with chronic illnesses and disabilities, like cystic fibrosis, ALS, or Down syndrome, putting them at the back of the line for treatment. Moving this legislation will be a priority for our committee,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers.   “Washington bureaucrats have no business picking and choosing which Americans are worthy of receiving treatment for serious, and often life-threatening, health issues,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith. “The ‘quality-adjusted life years’ measurement is discriminatory, morally bankrupt, and has no place in our health care system. I’m proud to join Chair Rodgers and Congressmen Burgess and Wenstrup in this effort to halt the government’s shameless attempt to decide if someone’s life is worth living.”  "I practiced as an Ob/Gyn for nearly 30 years. During that time, I treated each patient as a human being, not just a diagnosis. Quality-Adjusted Life Year (QALY) measurements are cruel and inhibit physicians' ability to care for and treat all patients with dignity. The government should never have the ability to decide the value of a life to approve or deny care. All human life has inherent value and should be treated as such," said Rep. Michael Burgess, M.D.   “I am proud to join my colleagues to introduce legislation that stops the use of quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) in Federal programs. QALY measurements put a dollar value on a person’s life, often devaluing the lives of those with chronic illnesses and disabilities. As a physician, I believe it is vitally important that our health care system values all lives and ensures that every person is treated with dignity,” said Rep. Brad Wenstrup, D.P.M.   Background:   H.R. 485 would prohibit the use of quality adjusted life years (QALYs) in all federal programs—an expansion from the current prohibition that only applies in a limited fashion to the Medicare program.  The controversial metric intentionally devalues treatments for disabled individuals and those with chronic illnesses for purposes of determining whether the treatment is cost-effective enough to be paid for by the federal government. The use of QALYs is a clear form of discrimination. The bill would also prohibit the importation of price-controls from countries that use QALYs, which are a socialist trademark of government-run health insurance programs.  What They’re Saying: “It’s hard to believe that it’s 2023 and patients with chronic illness are fighting to be treated like human beings. Congress can transform the lives of Americans with chronic disease by stopping the government use of an arbitrary metric that decides what our lives are worth,” said Terry Wilcox, CEO of Patients Rising. “Chair Rodgers didn’t waste any time defending the rights of the patients who will overwhelmingly be the targets of this calculation when determining access to care. She knows they are not worth less than anyone else, and we’re eager to join that fight.”  "The use of Quality-Adjusted Life Years is a longstanding concern in the disability community, especially in health care. The QALY inappropriately devalues the lives of people with disabilities and chronic conditions like epilepsy and can result in discriminatory limits on access needed health care services and treatments. We are glad to see this legislation to ban their use in federal health care programs included in the first hearing of the Energy & Commerce health subcommittee this Congress,” said Laura Weidner, Vice President of Government Relations & Advocacy, Epilepsy Foundation.   “The quality-adjusted life year (QALY) devalues the lives of older adults, people with disabilities and chronic conditions, and communities of color. The National Council on Disability has repeatedly warned against the use of QALYs in healthcare decision making because it would undermine major U.S. disability and civil rights laws, including the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act,” said Sue Peschin, MHS, President and CEO of the Alliance for Aging Research. “Despite the obvious negative impacts on health equity, payers—including private insurers, the Veterans Administration, and state Medicaid agencies—are increasingly utilizing QALY-based cost-effectiveness analyses from the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) to ration access for FDA-approved treatments. It is time for these harmful practices to stop. The Alliance applauds Energy & Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Ways & Means Chair Jason Smith, and Doc Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Brad Wenstrup and Rep. Michael Burgess for their leadership on the introduction of the Protecting Health Care for All Patients Act of 2023 and urges Congress to pass this vital legislation.”  “National Right to Life applauds Chairs Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Jason Smith as well as Reps. Michael Burgess and Brad Wenstrup for introducing the ‘Protecting Health Care for All Patients Act.’ This legislation would prevent the use of Quality-Adjusted Life Year (QALY) or similar metrics in health coverage. QALYs are an inherently discriminatory system of rationing used to assess a person’s anticipated lifespan and whether treatment will be ‘cost effective.’ QALYs apply a score to a person’s health and penalize a person who has a disability. QALYs are being used by some health care systems and payers to determine whether a patient who is judged—by others—to have a ‘diminished quality of life’ should receive health care coverage. National Right to Life strongly supports this life-affirming, dignity-enhancing legislation," said Jennifer Popik, Director of Federal Legislation at the National Right to Life Committee. "As the mother of a child with a disability, I'm deeply disturbed by the federal government's use of QALY; it is a dehumanizing methodology that discriminates against the elderly and sickest among us. I've seen how life-saving drugs that help fight my daughter's cystic fibrosis have been denied in other countries because government bureaucrats have deemed it 'too costly.' That is unacceptable and will lead us on a path toward socialized medicine. Thankfully, this legislation will help provide access to care that Americans deserve and send an important moral statement that our nation cares for our most vulnerable," said Mary Vought, Fellow at the Independent Women’s Voice and former National Council on Disability Council Member 



Jan 30, 2023
Health

Chair Rodgers Rules Committee Remarks on Bills to End PHE and Lift Vaccine Mandate on Health Care Workers

Washington. D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered the following remarks before the Rules Committee today on H.R. 382, the Pandemic is Over Act, and H.R. 497, the Freedom for Health Care Workers Act : NOVEL VIRUS NEW REALITY “Three years ago tomorrow, then-HHS Secretary Alex Azar declared a Public Health Emergency (PHE) for the emerging threat that was the novel coronavirus. The U.S. had just identified its first official case just over a week prior. “Within one year of the anniversary of the PHE, thanks to early leadership from President Trump and Operation Warp Speed, an authorized vaccine helped prevent thousands of hospitalizations and deaths. “And now, three years later, it is estimated that 95 percent of those over 16 have been vaccinated or had COVID-19. “That’s not to say there still isn’t a risk of contracting COVID-19, but the risk presented by COVID has decreased significantly since 2020 through innovations in vaccines and treatments and through natural immunity. “It is now a risk Americans should be calculating for themselves and their families. “Nothing worth doing is without risk – there is a risk to driving to work, playing in a rec league soccer team with friends – and COVID-19 is now one of those risks that Americans can review and balance for themselves. “The American people have moved on from the government making that risk assessment for them and want their lives to get back to normal.” PRESIDENT BIDENS’ WORDS VS. ACTIONS “In many ways, the risks presented by government control and mandates in the name of the PHE, outweigh the risks presented by the virus itself. “President Biden himself even acknowledged this new reality when last September he said unequivocally, ‘the pandemic is over.’ “However, since that statement President Biden has extended the PHE twice and has continued using the pandemic to achieve progressive policy goals. “In the name of the pandemic, he pushed for indefinite extensions on the moratorium on evictions and the suspension of student loan interest payments, and he attempted to require masking in public transit. “In February of 2022, a year after vaccines had become widely available to all Americans, I led a letter with 70 other House Republicans asking for the Biden administration to begin planning to unwind the PHE. We received no response. “Since the administration continues to refuse to return our country to normal, it’s time for the People’s House to act! ” ENDING THE PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY “I’m pleased Mr. Guthrie introduced H.R. 382, 'The Pandemic Is Over Act,' to end the public health emergency with respect to COVID-19!” “The Senate voted in a bipartisan way to end the National Emergency, and I hope this can be bipartisan as well. “The 2023 omnibus extended telehealth and hospital at home through December 2024. “The 2023 omnibus also gave states clear timelines to deal with the unprecedented number of people on Medicaid, many of whom are no longer legally eligible for the program and provided clarity on winding down the enhanced federal funding for Medicaid. “If there are additional flexibilities under the public health emergency that should be extended or permanent, Congress should do so through regular order. “It’s long past time for the Biden administration to stop relying on an emergency that no longer exists to make unilateral decisions.” THE EGREGIOUS VACCINE MANDATE “One especially egregious policy pursued by the Biden administration throughout the PHE has been the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health care workers. “H.R. 497, led by Rep. Jeff Duncan, takes an important and long overdue step to repeal this mandate and return health care autonomy to health care workers and also provide critical relief to health care facilities who are struggling to hire and retain frontline health care workers. “In November 2021, long after data became available that the vaccines did not prevent transmission of COVID-19, the Biden administration did an interim final regulation requiring COVID-19 vaccination for all Medicare and Medicaid providers. “Because of this mandate, health care facilities were left with the choice of forcibly requiring all of their employees, including support staff such as cooks and cleaners, to get a COVID-19 vaccination within a matter of weeks, regardless of prior infection with COVID-19 or face civil monetary penalties, denial of payment for new patients, and even termination of their entire Medicare and Medicaid provider agreement. “Health care workers were forced to choose between violating their own personal beliefs and their health decisions informed by their doctor’s medical advice or potentially lose their job and livelihood, be forced to move out of their communities, and struggle to provide for their families and pay their bills during record high inflation.” LACK OF TRUST IN PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS “This mandate did NOT build trust in the vaccine. Instead, it backfired by adding to Americans’ distrust of public health officials and institutions. “The CDC and other institutions have confirmed that the vaccines do not prevent transmission of the COVID-19 virus, which reinforces this mandate was unnecessary in protecting vulnerable patients, whom the mandate was allegedly written to help, addition to being cruel and antithetical to our nation’s core values. “In my home state, the Washington State Hospital Association estimated that Washington lost 2 percent of its health care workforce due to our state vaccine mandate. “That may not seem like a lot, but at a time of unprecedented health care staffing shortages and multi-layered workforce challenge, it has been another incredible burden on our already struggling health care system. “There is no reason that this administration should continue this policy, but since they have not taken action, Congress must step in. “I’m hopeful that some of our Democrat colleagues will finally recognize the toll this mandate has placed upon our already-stressed workforce and join in supporting this legislation. “Let’s return these critical health care decisions to doctors and their patients. “It’s time for us to close this chapter of the pandemic and mandates and start looking ahead. “I urge the members of this committee to support this legislation.”



Jan 30, 2023
On the House Floor

E&C Republicans Commend Passing of H.R. 21 in the House

House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans advocated for strengthening the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) last week on the House Floor and successfully passed H.R. 21, the Strategic Production Response Act , out of the House Friday by a bipartisan vote of 221-205.  H.R. 21 would prevent the SPR from being abused by the President through politically motivated, “non-emergency” sales, which will strengthen America’s energy security and ensure this strategic asset is available during true supply emergencies. Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and other committee members applauded bipartisan passage of H.R. 21 on Friday.  “President Biden has turned a longtime bipartisan strategic asset, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, into a political tool to cover up the consequences of his expensive rush-to-green agenda,” Chair Rodgers said. “H.R. 21 provides a path towards making energy more affordable and reliable for Americans by preserving the SPR’s vital and central purpose—to provide the oil supplies Americans need during true emergencies, not drain them away for non-emergency, political purposes. I am honored to join my Republican colleagues in passing this important bill to strengthen American energy security and leadership.”   “The Biden administration abused the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a political ploy in an attempt to hide the damage of its failed energy polices. The SPR was drained to a near 40 year low, leaving us vulnerable in the event of an emergency,” Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) said . “The Strategic Production Response Act will rein in the abuse of our reserves and set us on a path to empower energy producing states like North Dakota to provide reliable and needed energy,” said Congressman Armstrong.  “The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is intended for emergency use only. Evidently, the president’s idea of ‘strategy’ means using the SPR to evade the consequences of his own disastrous policies. This White House has issued no plan to restock the millions of barrels they have drained from our reserves, leaving the United States extremely vulnerable in the event of an actual emergency such as a natural disaster,” Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA) said . “American families are currently struggling through the worst energy crisis in decades. Instead of playing politics with the SPR, President Biden must flip the switch on domestic production and unleash American energy dominance. The Strategic Production Act will go a long way toward replenishing the fuel which this president has so thoughtlessly withdrawn, putting our national security at risk.”  Energy and Commerce Republican members joined Chair Rodgers on the House Floor to urge members to support H.R. 21 and end President Biden’s politicization of the SPR.   Check out these highlights from Energy and Commerce Republicans: 


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Recent Letters


Jan 18, 2023
Press Release

Chair Rodgers: GAO Gain-of-Function Research Report Affirms Our Concerns with HHS P3CO Framework

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) offered the following statement after the Government Accountability Office issued a report titled “ HHS Could Improve Oversight of Research Involving Enhanced Potential Pandemic Pathogens ,” which is commonly referred to as “gain-of-function" research.  “Today’s watchdog report affirms many of my concerns with the secretive HHS board that purportedly reviews risky research projects from federal agencies. So far, the risky research proposals of concern only appear to be funded by the National Institutes of Health, specifically by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The American public deserve to know to what extent their tax dollars are being used to fund pathogenic research that has the potential to cause a pandemic. Whether or not the U.S. government played any role—directly or indirectly—in the creation of COVID-19, our committee’s investigation is uncovering a host of issues that require more attention. Thankfully, we were able to enact some commonsense prohibitions regarding where and how this type of research is funded, but we will continue pushing for more accountability and oversight to start rebuilding public trust in these research agencies.”  KEY EXCERPT FROM GAO REPORT : By working with its funding agencies to identify and share non-sensitive information about how HHS, in coordination with its funding agencies, conducts reviews and makes funding recommendations, researchers, Congress, and the public would have greater assurance that departmental review provides meaningful and effective suggestions to address biosafety and biosecurity concerns about research involving enhanced potential pandemic pathogens. Moreover, doing so could enhance public confidence in the department’s oversight as well as ensure the agency’s goal to exemplify and promote the highest level of scientific integrity, public accountability, and social responsibility in the conduct of science.  Chair Rodgers, along with Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Morgan Griffith (R-VA) wrote to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xaiver Becerra in April of 2022, raising concerns on the “flawed and overly secretive review process of whether risky research for potential pandemic pathogens can be conducted safely and have a justifiable benefit.”  KEY LETTER EXCERPT : “Dr. Chris Hassell, the HHS Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and the chair of the HHS P3CO review committee, briefed the committee staff twice during the summer of 2021. During the briefings, when asked about the identities of the members, Dr. Hassell did not provide the names of the members of the review group. However, he indicated which agencies or departments were represented on the HHS P3CO Review Committee. Dr. Hassell noted there were members from the NIH on the review committee, but he specifically pointed out that the NIH members were from the Office of the Director and not from any of the NIH institutes or centers that would be funding entities to avoid conflict-of-interest concerns.   “The minority committee staff requested that HHS provide the names and affiliations of all members of the HHS P3CO review committee. In response, HHS provided some of the names of the HHS P3CO review committee, but on a confidential basis because of personal security concerns.”  You can read the full letter here . 



Jan 17, 2023
In the News

ICYMI: E&C Republicans Turn Up the Heat and Demand Biden Stop Efforts to Ban Gas Stoves

President Biden wants to control every aspect of our lives—from what kind of cars we can drive, how we can heat our homes, and now how we’re allowed to cook food for our families. Last week, it was reported that the Biden administration is looking to ban gas stoves from American homes across the country. This is just the latest in a long line of power grabs by the radical Left. It's not about public safety, but rather about telling the American people the federal government knows what’s best. Nearly 35% of homes in the U.S. – more than 40 million Americans – use a natural gas stove. That’s why Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and 86 of her House Republican colleagues sent a letter to President Biden demanding the administration reverse any attempts to ban gas stoves. Chair Rodgers also sent a letter to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) echoing these concerns.  Highlights and excerpts from the Fox Business exclusive coverage on the letter to President Biden : Furious lawmakers are calling on President Biden to cease any efforts by his administration to ban natural gas stoves inside Americans' homes. Republicans on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce sent a letter to the president Friday writing in "strong opposition" to reported efforts by regulators to ban natural gas appliances. "This kind of intrusion into the homes of Americans by the federal government as a way of forcing rush-to-green, liberal policies is the ‘nanny state’ at its worst," the Republicans wrote. "Banning natural gas stoves is not about public safety – it is another example of government control; like other policies we have seen from your administration, to tell Americans what kinds of cars they can drive, how they heat their homes, and how to live their lives." The Biden administration caused an uproar over gas stoves earlier this week after a commissioner on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) suggested regulators were considering banning the appliance due to health and safety concerns. From E&E News : House Energy and Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) is already making plans to bring the issue before her committee. “I’m quite concerned,” Rodgers told E&E News. “I think we need to dig into this more and probably bring them in and ask some questions.” CLICK HERE to read Chair Rodgers’ January 11th statement on President Biden’s plan to ban gas stoves. CLICK HERE to read House Republicans’ January 13th letter to President Biden. CLICK HERE to read Chair Rodgers’ January 13th letter to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Alexander Hoehn-Saric.



Dec 20, 2022
Letter

ICYMI: E&C Republicans Question Peer-to-Peer Delivery Services on Fentanyl Deliveries

Last year, more than 100,000 individuals died from drug overdoses with 71,000 lives lost due to overdoses caused by fentanyl or its analogues. Many of the transactions of this dangerous drug have been facilitated online. In response to recent reports of Uber Connect being used to deliver drugs, House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican leaders sent letters questioning peer-to-peer (P2P) delivery services on what actions they’re taking to prevent their services from being used for transporting illegal drugs, including illicit fentanyl.  In the letters, led by Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Republican Leader Bob Latta (R-OH), Subcommittee on Health Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Republican Leader Morgan Griffith (R-VA), and Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce Republican Leader Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), the members highlight the story of Ann Portillo, who lost her 22-year-old daughter, Alex, to a fentanyl poisoning. Alex received the drugs through Uber Connect.  Letters were sent to the CEOs of Uber, Lyft, Roadie, and Alto.  NBC News reported exclusively on the letters:   NBC— House Republicans sent a letter Thursday to Uber asking the tech company to explain what steps it is taking in response to drivers' complaints that they’re being asked to deliver packages they suspect to be drugs.   The letter from members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee cites reporting from NBC News that described the concerns of drivers as well as the case of a 22-year-old Arizona woman who died from an overdose of fentanyl that her mother said was delivered via Uber Connect, a courier service that the San Francisco-based ride-hailing app started at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic so that people could send small items across town.   […]   The letter asks Uber to explain what actions the company has taken in response to drivers' complaints about suspected drugs; how the company would work with law enforcement in such a scenario; how many accounts Uber has deactivated as a result of users sending prohibited items; what information Uber collects about packages; and many other questions.   “Just as we have asked social media companies to do their part to curb the sale of drugs on their platforms, Uber must act to ensure Uber Connect is not used to transport untracked shipments of illicit drugs to Americans,” the lawmakers wrote.   The Hill— They said they have supported the development of new technologies and the benefits that the gig economy provides people, but noted that bad actors might take advantage of the service to send harmful products to unaware recipients.   The representatives said that GOP members of the committee previously sent letters to the heads of social media companies on their responsibility to address the spread of fentanyl but that the “crisis” is not just limited to the scope of such companies.   They asked for information including an explanation of the agreement terms for participants of Uber Connect, the number of accounts that have been deactivated after shipping packages with prohibited contents and what information from the sender and recipient Uber Connect gathers.   CLICK HERE to read the full letter to Uber.  CLICK HERE to read the full letter to Lyft.  CLICK HERE to read the full letter to Roadie.  CLICK HERE to read the full letter to Alto.