Health Updates

Jan 30, 2023

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 27, 2023
Big Tech

E&C Republicans Hold Roundtable on the Dangers of Big Tech and the Fentanyl Poisoning Crisis

House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans held a roundtable this week to discuss the dangers Big Tech poses to American children amidst the fentanyl poisoning crisis. The members heard from and engaged in a discussion with the following panelists: Amy Neville , Founder, Alexander Neville Foundation Carrie Goldberg , Owner, C.A. Goldberg, PLLC Laura Marquez-Garrett , Attorney, Social Media Victims Law Center Sheriff John Nowels , Sheriff, Spokane County, WA Below are highlights from the round table: CHAIR RODGERS: “We’re here today because we’ve all heard from constituents about the dangers that they and their children face online. In many instances, big tech companies have failed to be good stewards on their platforms. “We’ve seen numerous reports detailing how big tech encourages addictive behaviors in our children to keep them glued to their screens and fails to protect their users from malicious actors on their platforms like drug dealers—targeting vulnerable populations with counterfeit drugs laced with fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances. Every day more Americans die from illicit fentanyl-related poisoning.” MS. NEVILLE: “One sunny day in June of 2020, I was preparing to take my 14-year-old son, Alexander, to the orthodontist. I went to his room to wake him, and there he laid, looking like he was just asleep on his bean bag chair—except he wasn’t sleeping. Alex was dead. His father tried CPR, the paramedics tried naloxone, but it was too late. Alex had taken a pill he believed to be OxyContin, turned out that it was a counterfeit pill made with fentanyl. That fake pill had enough fentanyl in it to kill four people. We only had him 14 years.” MS. GOLDBERG: “What you’re going to hear today is that almost all fentanyl poisonings have three things in common. Number one: the purchaser was a teenager. Number two: they had no intention of buying fentanyl but thought that they were purchasing something recreational. And number three: the transaction occurred through the online platform Snapchat.” MS. MARQUEZ-GARRETT: “We now represent more than 47 families whose children have been harmed or have died because of fentanyl poisoning. 43 of those 47 children are dead. Almost half of those children were under the age of 18, as young as the age of 13.” SHERIFF NOWELS: “Social media and electronic communication are a significant tool that our drug traffickers are using to impact our communities negatively. We have had to make significant investment in law enforcement to keep up with technology. “We are finding as time goes on that there are more and more online ways to communicate and distribute drugs than we can even keep up with. “We need help to combat this. Our drug dealers are all-too-often allowed to operate in secrecy. This is a significant issue in every community in this country. We need help to hold people accountable who are poisoning our children.” Check out these tweets from Energy and Commerce Committee members who participated in the roundtable:

Jan 25, 2023

Chairs Rodgers and Guthrie Announce First Health Subcommittee Legislative Hearing

Members will Address Fentanyl Crisis, Suicide Lifelines Breach, and Discrimination Against Individuals with Disabilities Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and incoming Health Subcommittee Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY) today announced the first legislative hearing in the Subcommittee on Health of the 118th Congress. It will focus on the illicit fentanyl poisoning crisis, the cybersecurity breach of suicide lifelines, and Quality Adjusted Life Year (QALY) measures.  “There is inherent value and dignity in every human life. Yet, we see so many in society in without hope. At a time when deaths of despair were heightened, we learned of a hack of the 9-8-8 suicide lifeline, taking a critical lifeline out of commission for hours. From the families and loved ones of the 71,000 deaths related to synthetic opioids, like fentanyl and its analogues, to those with disabilities or a rare condition worried about being denied access to treatment because of dehumanizing calculations by the federal government—we hear you. Your lives, and the lives of your loved ones, are worth living.”  Subcommittee on Health Hearing Entitled “Lives Worth Living: Addressing the Fentanyl Crisis, Protecting Critical Lifelines, and Combatting Discrimination Against Those with Disabilities.”   WHAT : A hearing to discuss the illicit fentanyl poisoning crisis, the cybersecurity breach of suicide lifelines, and Quality Adjusted Life Year (QALY) measures.   DATE : Wednesday, February 1, 2023  TIME : 10:00 AM ET  LOCATION : 2123 Rayburn House Office Building  WITNESSES : Witnesses will be announced and are by invitation only.  LEGISLATION UNDER DISCUSSION: The HALT Fentanyl Act , the 9-8-8 Lifeline Cybersecurity Responsibility Act , the Block, Report, and Suspend Suspicious Shipments Act , and the Protecting Health Care for All Patients Act   This notice is at the direction of the Chair. The hearing will be open to the public and press, and will be livestreamed online at . If you have any questions concerning the hearing, please contact Jolie Brochin with the Committee staff at .

Jan 13, 2023

E&C Republicans Host Roundtable on Fentanyl Crisis and the Southern Border

Energy and Commerce Republicans, led by Representative John Joyce, M.D. (R-PA),  hosted a roundtable  on Wednesday to discuss the worsening fentanyl crisis with a focus on illegal drug smuggling across our southern border. Members were joined by following panelists:  Ray and Deb Cullen  who tragically lost their son Zachary to fentanyl poisoning in August of last year. They reside in Shippensburg, PA, as do their 2 remaining sons and two granddaughters.  Paul Knierim,  Former Assistant Administrator, Chief of Intelligence, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).  Dr. Timothy Westlake , M.D., an Emergency Medicine Physician, is the former chairman of the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board, former member of the Badger State’s Controlled Substances Board (CSB) and led the effort on class-wide scheduling of Fentanyl Related Substances (FRS) in Wisconsin.  Below are highlights from the event:  Mrs. Cullen : “We beg of you to get the word out about illicit fentanyl to everyone. This is urgent and must be done immediately because we need to slow down the rate at which other families are losing their loved ones. This crisis should be attacked with the same priority and intensity that Covid was. You could not turn on the television without hearing about Covid, its statistics and what the government was doing to fight it. It should be the same for the illicit fentanyl crisis! […]  "I struggle to understand why our government is not making it a priority to stop the loss of so many lives. My husband heard this comparison the other day and thought it was very impactful. Another way of looking at this crisis is to compare it to 9/11. On that terrible day nearly 3,000 people lost their lives to a terrorist attack and our government responded quickly, intentionally and with force. Do you know that we are currently losing over 3,000 people EVERY TWO WEEKS from illicit fentanyl? […]  “Our son did not die in vain and will do everything in our power to make sure of that.” Mr. Knierim:  “Organized criminal networks are using deception to hide fentanyl in fake counterfeit pills that are designed to look like prescription drugs such as OxyContin, Percocet, Adderall, Xanax, and others. As I previously mentioned, illicit drugs as well as the transnational and domestic criminal organizations that traffic them continue to represent significant threats to public health, public safety, and national security. Make no mistake, the Mexican drug cartels, specifically the Sinaloa cartel and the CJNG are the transnational criminal organizations that comprise the greatest criminal drug threat to the United States. These two cartels in Mexico are violent criminal organizations responsible for mass producing and supplying virtually all the deadly fentanyl in the United States. The precursor chemicals principally originate in China. […]  “Criminal networks are mass producing pills and fake marketing them as legitimate prescription pills to deceive the American public. Fake pills are easy to purchase, widely available, often contain fentanyl or methamphetamine, and can be deadly. I want to emphasize the increasing probability of counterfeit pills containing a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl. Fake prescriptions are easily accessible and often sold on social media and other e-commerce platforms, making them available with a smart phone, including minors. […]  “This fight against the drugs of abuse with particular emphasis on fentanyl will not be remediated overnight. We all play a critical role and must be persistent.”  Dr. Westlake : “As you might imagine, telling parents (sometimes even friends) that their kids will never come home is the worst part of my job. It was after one such conversation with my good friend, Lauri Badura, that fentanyl class scheduling reform came to mind. Lauri's son Archie was an alter server with my daughters. First, it was prescription pills and then IV opioids. I resuscitated Archie on his second to last overdose. At the time, I pulled out a body bag, laid it down next to him, and warned him that's where he'd end up if he didn’t get help. He stayed clean for 6 months until illicit fentanyl ended his life. […]  “FRS [fentanyl related substance] scheduling reform is only temporary until Congress acts to make it permanent law. We all must work together and deploy every successful overdose prevention and harm reduction tool in our arsenal.”  Rep. John Joyce, M.D. (R-PA):  “Opioid overdose is now the leading cause of deaths in Americans between the ages of 18 and 49. Those who have lost their lives to these overdoses are not just nameless statistics. They’re our families, our friends, our neighbors.”   Rep. Michael Burgess, M.D. (R-TX):  “We’re dealing with a different disease now than we were in 2018. In 2018, it was diversion of legitimate prescriptions. Now, it’s fentanyl poisoning or fentanyl murder.”  Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH):  “When I was in the Ohio legislature, I chaired judiciary committees, and I said these are not just names or statistics out there. These are real people with family members that are going to for the rest of their lives think about this and have it on their heart. Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY):  “I’ve never seen legislation move quicker than when families get involved and tell their stories. So, it’s important that you do that. And that’s how your son lives on. That’s how you continue to make a difference. So, thank you for your willingness to do that.”  Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA):  “Right now we have young men and women across the country, like your son (Zachary Cullen), who are passing away, and I don’t know whether that was an analogue or not, but we need to make all of these Schedule I and I think the [HALT Fentanyl Act] is important to get passed.”  Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL):  “We must do whatever we can to reduce the stigma attached to substance abuse disorder and addiction. We also must ensure that treatment is readily available for those in need, and we’re working on that. Of course, we need to engage with law enforcement to ensure they are combatting the transactional and the domestic criminal organizations that are trafficking and distributing this illicit fentanyl.”  Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH):  “Fentanyl is killing Americans all across the country at an alarming rate. Our friends, our neighbors, and in some cases, our family members. My district in Appalachia, in Ohio, is no stranger to the dangers of fentanyl poisoning. It’s part of our nation that’s been especially devastated by fentanyl and the opioid crisis.”  Rep. Tim Walberg (R-GA):  “Chris Risner. I mentioned that name because I told his folks, Dan and Julie Risner, that any opportunity I had I would mention his name. Like your son [Zachary Cullen], he was a young man with a promising future, athlete, scholarship, had an injury and it all began. Ultimately, after six treatment centers and during those times I spent time with him in sessions in high schools where he gave his story, in prisons and in jails where he gave his story and did his best. Ultimately, we thought that he was going to make it. His grandfather died, and he was a victim.”  Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA):  “[Fentanyl is an] issue that every community experiences, and that’s what frustrates me more than anything, especially about the southern border. A lot of people look at that on TV or in the media, and they think [fentanyl is] just a problem at the southern border. But it’s not. These drugs are infesting communities everywhere.” 

Dec 12, 2022

Leader Rodgers Statement on CMS Waiver for Undocumented Immigrant Health Insurance Plans

Washington, D.C. —  House Energy and Commerce Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) released the following statement after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced approval of a waiver submitted by Washington that would allow federal taxpayer dollars to subsidize health insurance for undocumented immigrants: “At a time when President Biden’s inflation crisis is already increasing the financial burdens on health care providers and families in Eastern Washington and across the nation, health care premiums and costs are rising substantially. Rather than using federal funds to mitigate some of these costs for health care providers and Washingtonians, Governor Inslee would rather spend it on undocumented immigrants,”  said Leader Rodgers . “For example, I would recommend the Governor cover medical expenses for the staggering increase in innocent babies born with drug addiction which he is refusing. This waiver is a blatant misuse of taxpayer dollars, and Administrator Brooks-LaSure should have rejected it. Energy and Commerce Republicans will continue to fight against dangerous policies that prioritize those who are breaking the law over law abiding citizens.” Leader Rodgers  offered her support  to legislation introduced by Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO) earlier this year that would bar use of federal funds to health care for undocumented immigrants.

Dec 9, 2022

Biden’s Open Border Policies Will Pour Gasoline on Fentanyl Crisis

In  less than two weeks , Title 42 or the “remain in Mexico” policy is set to expire. The policy was implemented during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic by the previous administration to slow the influx of illegal border crossings, which has risen to all-time high under President Biden. Since he took office, more than four million illegal immigrants have been apprehended crossing the southern border. While Title 42 will be lifted due to court order, the Biden administration has been working to reverse the policy, claiming it was no longer necessary for pandemic reasons. Never mind the fact that President Biden, who has  stated that the pandemic is over ,  continues to abuse COVID-19 pandemic emergency powers . When asked if he was planning to go to the border, this week, President Biden quipped that “ there are more important things going on .” Parents who lost a child to fentanyl poisoning as well as our border patrol agents—who have been attacked by this administration while trying to do an impossible job—likely disagree. The United States is facing a poisoning epidemic caused by fentanyl and its related substances that are pouring over our southern border. Last year, more than 100,000 Americans died of a drug overdose or poisoning, with 70,000 dying from fentanyl or its analogs. President Biden’s own officials  confirmed  these substances are coming across the Southern Border. President Biden’s assertion that there are “more important things going on” than the border crisis is misguided and offensive. Because of President Biden’s open-border policies—and disregard for the crisis at our southern border—every state is now a border state. Energy and Commerce Republicans are committed to securing the border and stopping the scourge of fentanyl in communities across America. That’s why we’re leading on the  HALT Fentanyl Act  to permanently give law enforcement the tools they need to keep fentanyl off our streets. In the new Congress, Energy and Commerce Republicans will work to hold President Biden and his administration accountable for  their failures to address the ongoing crisis  at the border. We cannot allow the lawlessness and tragedy to continue to tear apart our communities. Read what Energy and Commerce have to say:

Nov 22, 2022
Press Release

Leaders Rodgers and Cole to Biden Administration: Don’t Punish Doctors, Nurses, and Frontline Workers

Washington, D.C. —  House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Republican Leader Tom Cole (R-OK) issued the following statement after the Biden administration announced plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars out of the Provider Relief Fund on a COVID-19 vaccine campaign: “We are extremely concerned that, after the Biden administration stonewalled Congress for months about the remaining Provider Relief Fund dollars, it just announced $475 million of it will be used for a vaccine campaign. As Democrats have already spent more than a billion dollars on vaccine confidence activity, with no reporting on the success of its outcomes, we believe continuing these efforts is not the best use of these funds.” They continued, “These funds were intended for doctors, nurses, and frontline health care workers, who have been experiencing record burnout, and should instead be used to mitigate inflation and address the workforce shortages driven by Democrat policymaking.”

Nov 17, 2022
In the News

Media Wrap-Up: Leader Rodgers’ E&C Health Priorities

Energy and Commerce Republicans are ready to hit the ground running next Congress. Don’t miss the below key coverage outlining top priorities for 2023, including combatting the fentanyl crisis, returning to pre-pandemic life, investigating the origins of COVID-19, and holding the Biden administration accountable for its many failures. Combatting the Fentanyl Crisis Republicans are aiming to conduct investigations into the Biden administration’s pandemic spending, the origins of the coronavirus, and the tech industry’s role in the fentanyl crisis if they take control of the House and Senate next week. […] GOP leaders slotted to succeed their Democratic colleagues on key health committees have indicated they plan to scrutinize Big Tech to do more to crack down on illegal fentanyl sales on their platforms and oversee how the Department of Health and Human Services will implement new drug pricing policies under Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act, among other items. CLICK HERE  to read the full article in the  Washington Examiner . Illicit fentanyl is surging across our southern border and killing more people than ever. This drug is so dangerous and potent that just a few milligrams, which can fit in the ear of Lincoln on a penny, can be lethal. […] First and foremost, we need to secure the border. A Biden administration official with the Office of National Drug Control Policy confirmed to the Energy and Commerce Committee that the southern border is primarily how these substances are getting into America. With help from Chinese chemical companies, Mexican drug cartels are trafficking enough illicit fentanyl into the United States to kill every American many times over. A secure border is our strongest defense to crack down on Chinese illicit fentanyl, stop the cartels, and keep these weapon-grade poisons off our streets. In addition, we need to make sure law enforcement have permanent tools to seize fentanyl-related substances, which are analogues of fentanyl that can be even more dangerous and deadly. […] To make sure fentanyl-related substances don’t become street legal, Republicans are leading on the Halt All Lethal Trafficking of Fentanyl Act. This will give law enforcement the permanent tools they need to seize these poisons and keep our communities safe. CLICK HERE  to watch the full interview. Returning to Normal President Biden  declared in September  that the COVID-19 pandemic was “over.” If Republicans win control of Congress, they’ll demand U.S. policy reflects that conclusion. Why it matters:  The pandemic ushered in revolutionary changes to U.S. health and economic policy. While many pandemic-era restrictions have already been rolled back, a full reversion to pre-COVID governance would have profound consequences for American life. In particular, the ongoing public health emergency and the national emergency declaration give the executive branch sweeping powers in critical areas of public policy, including health care, student loans and border security. […] Energy & Commerce:  A GOP committee aide told Axios that returning to “normal” is a priority, namely by ending the public health emergency, stopping unnecessary pandemic spending, and reversing any worker COVID mandates. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), the top Republican on the committee, has repeatedly called for the Biden administration to provide a plan to unwind the public health emergency. The aide also said the panel’s COVID top oversight targets are the virus’ origins, policies around school shutdowns, and Democrats’ pandemic spending. CLICK HERE  to read more from  Axios . Health Care Cybersecurity Republican victories in Tuesday’s elections could benefit patients, businesses and health care providers who’ve liked pandemic-era rules that have made telehealth easier to use. Although telehealth is broadly bipartisan, Republicans are more fervent in their telehealth enthusiasm than their Democratic counterparts, Ben reports. […] Here are some other GOP priorities:  Cybersecurity:  The GOP is signaling that it will focus on legislation to stop hackers who’ve besieged U.S. health care organizations. Republicans introduced several cybersecurity bills just ahead of the elections, including one from House Energy and Commerce ranking member Brett Guthrie of Kentucky aimed at bolstering the Department of Health and Human Services’ defenses. The goal is bipartisan. This month, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) released a cybersecurity report calling for stronger leadership from HHS. AI/Innovation:  House Republicans’ Healthy Future Task Force has targeted expanding Medicare breakthrough-device coverage as a priority, as well as modernizing clinical trials and using artificial intelligence to root out fraud. Tech oversight:  Republicans have pushed tech companies, including Snapchat and TikTok, to take more action to prevent fentanyl sales on their platforms. CLICK HERE  to read more from  Politico Pulse . Uncovering the Origins of COVID-19 Rep Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) who is poised to ascend to the Energy and Commerce Committee chairmanship, said over the summer: ‘There are so many questions that need to be answered about the government’s response to Covid-19.  ‘How the pandemic started, that’s probably the most important public health question that needs to be answered,’ she said.  Gaining that subpoena power would give Republicans the green light to compel testimony and obtain documents, likely sparking fierce political showdowns in Congressional hearings and partisan bickering behind the scenes.  CLICK HERE  to read more from Daily Mail. Holding the Biden Administration Accountable Congressional Republicans are floating sweeping investigations into the Biden administration’s COVID-19 spending and are looking to tighten the purse strings on agency funding should they hold majorities after next week’s midterms.   Republicans are frustrated with what they see as the administration’s unaccountable coronavirus spending and are looking to shine a spotlight on where the trillions of dollars doled out by the White House have gone.  CLICK HERE  to read more from The Hill. The  House Energy and Commerce Committee,  which has sweeping jurisdiction over health-related issues and could be led next year by Rep.  Cathy McMorris Rodgers  (R-Wash.). The panel’s GOP lawmakers will also continue probing the origins of the coronavirus, and have opened inquiries into biosafety practices overseen by federal agencies. Here’s what else the panel is planning to focus on, per a committee GOP aide: Biden administration covid policies, such as the impact of school-related policies on children. The increasing rate of deaths from fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid. Hearings regarding federal health agencies potentially related to the pandemic response and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Oversight into how the federal health department decides to  implement Democrats ’ new drug pricing policies. Transparency into how much hospitals are charging, an effort which has been bipartisan. CLICK HERE  to read more from the  Washington Post . Republican leaders of a House health panel are pushing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for answers on flaws in the agency’s initial response to the spread of monkeypox in the US. […] Republicans are focusing their oversight less on the White House’s relationship with scientific agencies like the CDC and more on public safety issues. Rodgers, Guthrie, and Griffith this week  wrote  to the National Institutes of Health asking about research into monkeypox that potentially involved making a version of the virus that was more lethal to mice. CLICK HERE  to read more from  Bloomberg Government .

Nov 17, 2022

E&C Leaders’ Statement on Passage of Bipartisan Lymphedema Treatment Act

Washington, D.C.  — Energy and Commerce Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Health Subcommittee Republican Leader Brett Guthrie (R-KY) released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3630, the Lymphedema Treatment Act: “This legislation will ensure seniors living with lymphedema can access necessary products used to treat this condition through their Medicare coverage. We are hopeful that this legislation can help us move away from the rigid Medicare fee-for-service system, which puts patients in the position of having to lobby Congress and the administration for medical coverage. Instead, we should move towards a system that rewards better value for patients and providers and protects the Medicare program for generations to come. We are grateful to Rep. Carter and many of our Energy and Commerce members for their bipartisan leadership on this legislation.” H.R. 3630  was reported out of the full committee unanimously on July 13.