In the News Updates

Jan 2, 2024

The House Passed a Long-Needed Health Care Price Transparency Measure

"[M]aking prices more transparent  polls at more than 80 percent ,  regardless of party or demographic . It   brings both liberal   and   conservative advocacy groups   together. Americans see prices everywhere they shop except in health care, and it makes sense to them that there should be a clear price for blood draws and X-rays, too." Last month, the House passed the Lower Costs, More Transparency Act to drive down health care costs by increasing price transparency. Writing in the The Hill , journalist and commentator Mary Katharine Ham shared her experience as a patient and explains the importance of price transparency. “When I was pregnant with my second child, in the years following the passage of the Affordable Care Act, I went to the doctor for routine prenatal testing. Despite promises to the contrary, I had lost several health insurance plans during those years, and  at least one while pregnant.  At the doctor that day, my new deductible was so high that I paid full freight up-front for all my care.  “The practice offered me two tests—one a new-fangled version of the old test. When I noticed two tests listed, I told them I’d like to choose one and asked which was more cost-effective. The facility couldn’t even tell me.  “ On a different trip to the pediatrician, I asked for an estimate of the price. I was quoted about $250, but when I checked out, was presented with a bill almost three times that. ”  […]  “No matter what kind of insurance you have, you’ve probably run into this confusion. In ObamaCare exchanges, employer-based insurance, and government-run programs, figuring out even an approximate price for medical services can be a puzzle. In most of our system, cost is borne by a third payer, so customers and providers alike are disconnected from the actual price of services. As a result, even the same exact procedure can cost wildly different amounts, depending on something as simple as which building you visit to get it done.   “A new bill overwhelmingly passed by the House […] (the vote was 320-71) aims to fix some of these problems. Dubbed the Lower Costs, More Transparency Act, the package had bipartisan backing and went through three different House committees. It aims to make changes to our complex health care system to make pricing clearer and site-neutral.”  […]  “ The health care debate has for too long been defined by utopian dreams and giant plans, many of which fall short for Americans. Maybe it’s time to start favoring the simple over the sweeping.  In the words of Fat Joe, it’s not rocket science.”  CLICK HERE to read the full piece.  CLICK HERE to read more about the Lower Costs, More Transparency Act . 

WSJ Editorial Board: Congress Takes on the EV Mandate

Energy and Commerce is leading to stop Biden’s agenda to force Americans to drive EVs  President Biden’s EPA is proposing a de facto mandate for two-thirds of all new vehicles to be electric by 2032. To stop the administration’s rush-to-green agenda that is taking away people’s vehicle choice and handing the keys to America’s auto future to China, Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) and Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) are leading on H.R. 4468, the Choice in Automobile Retail Sales (CARS) Act .  Ahead of today’s House Floor vote, don’t miss what the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board had to say:  “House Republicans have teed up a vote this week on legislation to block President Biden’s back-door electric-vehicle mandate. Democrats are spinning the legislation as an attack on public health, innovation and free markets.”  […]  “The Environmental Protection Agency 'is not imposing an EV mandate,' says a memo from Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee opposing the GOP legislation. But the EPA in April proposed tailpipe emissions standards for greenhouse gases that would effectively require that electric vehicles make up   two-thirds of car sales in 2032.   “The only way auto makers could meet the emissions restrictions is by producing more EVs and fewer gas-powered cars. This is a mandate in everything but name, and it’s already causing enormous problems.”    “The House GOP bill would prohibit EPA from finalizing its proposed CO2 emissions standards and bar any regulation that would 'mandate the use of any specific technology' or ‘result in limited availability of new motor vehicles’ based on the type of engine. This means EPA couldn’t promulgate a similar new mandate.”   […]  “‘American demand for EVs is already outpacing supply,’ the Democratic memo says, and ‘auto manufacturers are independently trending toward EVs because of increasing popularity with consumers.’ Then why are auto makers scaling back EV production plans? And why are thousands of auto dealers begging the Administration to tap the brakes on the EPA regulation as EVs pile up on their lots?   “Tesla accounted for nearly two-thirds of EV sales last year. Battery-powered EVs make up less than 3% of most auto makers’ fleets, which means they’d face an extremely steep ramp-up to hit the 2032 mandate. Even with Inflation Reduction Act subsidies, the Energy Information Administration forecasts that EVs will make up only 15% of sales in 2030.”  “That means auto makers will have to raise prices on gas-powered cars to offset losses on EVs they are required to make to meet government quotas. Ford lost $62,016 for every EV it sold in the third quarter. The only alternative is to buy regulatory credits from EV manufacturers. Tesla pocketed about $2,380 in credit sales for each car it sold in the U.S. during the first six months.”  […]  “Why can’t Democrats let producers meet the market demand for consumers?  “As the facts about Mr. Biden’s EV mandate become better known, and the implications for consumers sink in, it is going to be an issue in 2024. If EVs were as popular as the climate lobby claims, the Administration wouldn’t have to mandate them, and Democrats wouldn’t be dissembling about what they’re doing.”   CLICK HERE to read the full piece. 

Nov 21, 2023

E&C Republicans Demand Answers from TikTok over Terrorist and Antisemitic Content

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Vice Chair Buddy Carter (R-GA), and 23 other Republican Committee members sent a letter to TikTok demanding answers regarding how the Chinese Communist Party is using the app as a tool to surveil and manipulate Americans.  From the letter: “ Disturbingly, millions of TikTok users have recently viewed videos glorifying Osama Bin Laden’s ‘Letter to America,’ which attempts to justify his horrific murder of 3,000 Americans in the September 11, 2001, attacks while also perpetuating ‘the antisemitic trope claiming the Jews ‘control your policies, media and economy.’” Key excerpts from exclusive reporting by FOX NEWS : “ A group of House Republicans is demanding more transparency from TikTok about how content is amplified and how much insight China has into those processes as accusations mount against the social platform that it’s boosting antisemitic videos. “‘On October 7, the Palestinian terrorist organization, Hamas, brutally attacked Israel and killed more than 1,400 people. Since this terrorist attack, disinformation related to the conflict has run rampant on your platform, stoking antisemitism, support, and sympathy for Hamas,’ they wrote to TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew. “The letter is being led by Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Ga. It comes just days after TikTok was under fire for facilitating a surge in viral videos expressing support for Usama bin Laden’s 2002 'Letter to America' written in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.” […] “National security hawks have been wary of TikTok’s connection to China, with its parent company ByteDance being based in Beijing.” […] “The lawmakers are demanding to know how many employees at TikTok have connections to ByteDance, how the platform screens for misinformation and anti-Israel content amid the conflict with Hamas, and how its algorithms are curated, among other queries. “‘Given that roughly half of TikTok’s U.S. user base is under 25 years old, American youth are being exposed to extremely violent and disturbing images and videos," they wrote. "This deluge of pro-Hamas content is driving hateful antisemitic rhetoric and violent protests on campuses across the country. The CCP has already co-opted your platform, and it seems TikTok and TikTok’s employees are resigned to becoming a mouthpiece for antisemites, terrorists, and propaganda.’” ICYMI: In October, Chair Rodgers called on multiple tech companies, including TikTok, to brief the Energy and Commerce Committee on their moderation policies regarding the spread of illegal content posted by Hamas. CLICK HERE to read the full letter. CLICK HERE to read the Fox News story on the letter.

Nov 6, 2023

Op Ed: Chair Rodgers and Rep. Obernolte on How a National Data Privacy and Security Standard is Key to American AI Leadership

Washington D.C. — A recent Bloomberg Law op-ed by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Rep. Jay Obernolte (R-CA) highlights why establishing a national data privacy and security standard is an essential first step towards ensuring American AI leadership. Key excerpts from Chair Rodgers and Rep. Obernolte: “Artificial intelligence is here to stay. This technology is both exciting and disruptive, offering advancements that could empower people, expand worker productivity, and grow the US economy. We need to ensure America leads in developing standards and deploying this emerging technology. A critical first step toward achieving AI leadership is passing a national data privacy standard." […] “Data powers all of these new tools. The more information companies can feed into their machine learning systems, the smarter those systems can become. Yet a lack of transparency into AI systems and the data used to train them raises serious concerns about how they operate and where they might potentially be abused.”   […] “Guarding against these risks while still enabling America to reap the benefits of AI will be one of the key challenges of our time. Achieving this balance will require a deliberate approach to AI. A national data privacy standard must be the first step. Establishing comprehensive protections on the collection, processing, transfer, and storage of our data should be foundational to AI regulation in Congress.   “Last year, the Energy and Commerce Committee worked in bipartisan fashion to advance comprehensive data privacy and security legislation, which passed out of the committee with near unanimous support. We’re building on that momentum this Congress. We continue to work toward legislation that would implement the most robust privacy protections to date in the US, putting people back in control of their data.”   […]   “By setting clear rules of the road that promote innovation, strengthen protections for people’s data privacy and security, and ensure companies are assessing the safety of their algorithms as AI is deployed, the US will continue to lead on this revolutionary technology.”    Don’t miss — A national data privacy and security law would put people back in control of their online data by:  Restoring Americans’ control over their data  Minimizing what data is collected and stored on all Americans, specifically children  Requiring assessments of Big Tech’s algorithms and how they harm children  Preventing data brokers from selling profiles of Americans, especially when it comes to governments looking to surveil people and violate their civil liberties  CLICK HERE to read the full op-ed.

Oct 20, 2023

Why We Must Bolster American Energy Leadership and Security

Don’t miss this op-ed and report from Chair Rodgers and Ranking Member Barrasso Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Ranking Member John Barrasso (R-WY) wrote an op-ed in Newsweek exposing how the Biden administration’s radical climate agenda has led to massive government spending, increased reliance on China, and undermined American energy security and leadership. The op-ed includes findings from a new joint report by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. The report, titled “Irresponsible, Reckless, Alarming: IRA Will Make the United States Poorer and China Richer,” highlights how the so-called Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is one of the most economically disastrous pieces of legislation ever enacted.  As mentioned in the op-ed, the Committee Leaders also sent a joint letter today to Director of the Department of Energy Loan Programs Office Jigar Shah following evidence of an apparent conflict of interest. An organization the Director founded apparently was offering exclusive access to his office for groups seeking loan approval. Check out highlights from the op-ed , report , and letter below. Key excerpts from the op-ed: “Since Joe Biden was inaugurated, he has undermined our sound energy policy and our national security. Emboldened adversaries are a predictable consequence of American weakness, and President Biden's anti-American energy policy has contributed to this weakness.” "But it's about to get worse. Last year, Democrats rammed through their so-called 'Inflation Reduction Act' (IRA), the stated goal of which is to supercharge the energy 'transition' at the core of President Biden's radical climate agenda. This energy transition from affordable, available, and reliable American energy is the wrong policy at the wrong time." [...] “As with the 2009 Obama-Biden stimulus, influential lobbyists and donors are already lining up to market their access to the administration's check writers. Yesterday, we sent a series of questions to Jigar Shah, Director of the Department of Energy Loan Programs Office. A public report indicated that the firm Shah founded—Cleantech Leaders Roundtable—is acting as a 'gatekeeper' and offering preferential access to Shah. One senior Cleantech official leads a company that has already been approved for a $3 billion partial loan guarantee.” [...] "It's not just financial awards that are concerning. Shocking as it may seem, the energy 'transition' in the IRA will reposition the United States away from the fuels and technologies we dominate and toward those China controls." [...] “China also controls the supply chains for many of the key minerals EV technologies require. Yet the administration has worked aggressively to block mining of these same minerals here at home. Even with more domestic mining, converting the U.S. auto fleet to EVs would mean importing massive amounts of critical minerals from China-backed companies.” [...] “We cannot surrender our energy security to our adversaries. Yet that is exactly what the Democrats' reckless policies will do.” CLICK HERE to read the full opinion piece in Newsweek .  Key excerpts from the report: Enriching China:   The IRA is the linchpin in the Biden administration’s strategy to force the United States to abandon the industries and supply chains American dominates and replace them with the industries and supply chains China controls. China also directly or indirectly controls the supply chains for many of the key minerals these technologies require. Yet the administration has blocked or proposed blocking future mining for these same minerals throughout the United States. Even with additional mining, large amounts of critical materials will have to be imported to convert the U.S. auto fleet to EVs. The contrast with America’s recent dominance of global oil, natural gas, and coal production could not be starker. It would be foolish to give up such an economic and geopolitical advantage, but that’s what IRA is designed to do. Jeopardizing America’s Leadership in Emissions Reductions:   IRA will not improve the environment and may even harm it. The U.S. produces some of the cleanest energy in the world. We have led in emissions reductions by embracing American ingenuity and innovation— particularly in cleaner energy sources like natural gas—all while maintaining some of the highest labor and environmental standards. The development of American natural gas helped reduce U.S. emissions in the power sector by 36 percent from 2005 and 2022. As a result, America’s energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, both total and power sector, are at their lowest level since the mid-1980s. The IRA’s natural gas tax threatens to reverse these trends while making life more unaffordable for people, who are still paying more to heat homes, cook, and manufacture thousands of essential products than when President Biden first came into office. This is a tax on every part of our economy, which harms communities and shuts down production. American Energy Dominance is Still Achievable: Republicans’ previous "all-of-the-above" energy strategy has been a success. This nation needs a comparable "all of the above" car policy that encourages investment and innovation in a variety of new and improved technologies. Thanks to America’s shale revolution, America became energy independent in 2019 for the first time since Dwight Eisenhower was president. A robust oil and gas industry more than pays for itself in greater economic growth, jobs, and revenues and lower energy costs for families. CLICK HERE to read the report.  Key excerpt from the letter: We write concerning a recent report about the close relationship between the Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office, which you lead, and Cleantech Leaders Roundtable, a trade association you founded. The role that Cleantech Leaders Roundtable has assumed, appearing to act as a gatekeeper for companies seeking vital financial assistance from the LPO, warrants a thorough examination. CLICK HERE to read the letter.

Sep 20, 2023
In the News

Chair Rodgers Talks Health Care Price Transparency with POLITICO Live

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) joined POLITICO’s Alice Miranda Ollstein this morning for a discussion on the importance of increasing health care transparency to drive down costs for patients.  As Chair Rodgers said, “This is a 95% positive issue for people when they hear about price transparency for health care. They support it. They believe that it's needed.”   Watch it here and check out key highlights of Chair Rodgers’ remarks below.  ON THE LOWER COSTS, MORE TRANSPARENCY ACT :   “ I'm 100% committed to getting this bill up for consideration on the floor, passed out of the House, and ultimately onto the President's desk.   “I’m really, really proud of the work that has been done around this legislation. It passed out of the Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously.  “I'm proud to Chair this Committee. This Committee has a rich history of plowing the hard ground necessary to legislate, and that's what we've done on this bill.  “This is a very important first step when we talk about price transparency. We've worked hard with the Ways and Means Committee, the Education and the Workforce Committee. We're working with Leadership to get this bill out of the House.  “I also am really grateful to Ranking Member Pallone for his work and partnership in bringing the bill this far and we're committed to getting it done.”   ON PRICE TRANSPARENCY:    “I have a hospital in my district that has embraced this. They’re working with local employers and really looking at how can reimbursements be targeted to make sure that we're driving down costs for seniors for patients.  “Our goal is to really get price transparency within the health care system, whether it's hospitals, health plans, or PBMs. Price transparency is really important to accountability and ultimately to empowering patients and doctors to be making these decisions.”  ON EMPOWERING PATIENTS:   “One of my colleagues said it best when I was talking to him about it recently. He said ‘You know, in America, we know the price for everything that we buy. And as consumers, we're able to go out and make decisions based upon what the prices are. And in health care, we need that too.’  “We need, as individuals, to be empowered with the prices. That is one of the best things that we could do to bring back the decision-making to the patient and the doctor, which is my goal in this huge health care system to really get to the core issues on what's driving the cost of health care.  “We continue to see health care costs increasing, and we need to address what's driving the cost of health care. We've seen a lot of consolidation, and it is not bringing down the cost of health care.   “This is a very important first step to really look at how we address the rising cost of health care and make sure that we're protecting the decision-making between the patient and the doctor.”  ON ENSURING COMPLIANCE:   “Part of the reason this legislation is important is so that we have data that can be used most effectively. And the continued focus on making sure that the hospitals and others in this legislation—the health insurance companies, PBMs—are also in compliance.  “But we also have more stories because of price transparency today, of individuals and employers that are making decisions that are benefiting seniors and are bringing down the actual cost that they're having to pay out-of-pocket and as employers.  “I have employers in my district, but there's others around the country, that are also seeing those savings, because they're able to make a value-based decision, but also based upon on the price.”    CLICK HERE for more on the Lower Costs, More Transparency Act .  CLICK HERE for how the Lower Costs, More Transparency Act helps patients. 

Jul 11, 2023
In the News

Chair Rodgers on Fox News: “Dr. Fauci, Others, Unlawfully Approved Billions of Taxpayer Dollars”

DON’T MISS: This morning, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) joined America’s Newsroom on Fox News to share how Committee Republicans are leading an investigation to hold Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra accountable. Secretary Becerra failed to follow the Constitution and the law to lawfully reappoint 14 senior officials at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including Dr. Anthony Fauci, when their terms expired in December 2021. As a result, these 14 NIH officials held unlawful positions and exercised authority they didn’t have—such as approving $26 billion in grants. Check out highlights from the interview below. BECERRA’S FAILURE TO FOLLOW THE LAW “We have uncovered through our investigation that HHS Secretary Becerra did not follow federal law when he failed to reappoint leaders at NIH, including Dr. Fauci. “Dr. Fauci, who was the highest paid federal employee, has made decisions—as well as these other leaders at NIH—over billions of dollars in grants, including the most recent grant to EcoHealth Alliance. “We know that EcoHealth Alliance is the one that facilitated research at the Wuhan lab in China. “These individuals were to be reappointed [in December 2021]. This is an accountability measure that was put into the law by Congress in the 21st Century Cures Act because we believed it was important that these individuals be held accountable.” HHS NOT COOPERATING WITH INVESTIGATION “Health and Human Services and public health agencies have not been accountable to Congress across the board. “They [HHS] lied to us in early 2022. HHS said that they had made the appointments and that they couldn't produce the documents. “Secretary Becerra just recently retroactively made these appointments. It raises a lot of questions.” OFFICIALS UNLAWFULLY APPROVED BILLIONS “Dr. Fauci was in a position, along with these other officials, making decisions over billions of dollars of grants without a proper appointment... Secretary Becerra did not follow the Constitution or federal law in ensuring that these individuals are acting lawfully. “They've not been accountable to Congress or the American people for that matter, and we are going to continue to demand that these questions are answered.” CLICK HERE to read more about the Committee's findings.

Jul 11, 2023
In the News

Constitutional Law Expert: Fauci may have been “giving out billions without authority”

The size of the error on appointments would appear to be unprecedented Legal experts are weighing in on the House Energy and Commerce Committee investigation that has uncovered evidence that Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra may have failed follow the Constitution or the law to properly appoint 14 senior officials at the National Institutes of Health, including Dr. Fauci, which could have grave consequences. Excerpts and highlights from Constitutional Law Professor Jonathan Turley’s analysis of the Committee's investigation. Dr. Anthony Fauci has faced intense scrutiny in the past over his testimony denying any funding of "gain-of-function" research at the Wuhan lab in China. However, the most serious question now may be whether Fauci was who he said he was in those hearings: the then-director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). On Friday, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce issued a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra that raises the disturbing question of whether Fauci and 13 other National Institutes of Health (NIH) institute and center directors were unlawfully holding their offices for some period. Not only did these directors make sweeping policy changes for the nation but, in 2022 alone, they awarded more than $25 billion in federal biomedical grants. […] CNN's senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, once gushed that when " Dr. Fauci talks, he's just like a regular guy ." It turns out she might have been more accurate than she thought -- because Fauci legally may have been just a "regular guy" giving out billions without authority. What is equally baffling is that the House informed the administration that it was presumptively in violation of federal law. What followed were convoluted and confusing statements from the administration on a very simple question: Did Becerra appoint these directors?  […] The size of the error on appointments would appear to be unprecedented. What is clear is that such a violation would constitute a shocking level of administrative incompetence. It also is clear that the House committee can now demand — and, if necessary, compel — answers from Becerra on whether federal law was knowingly flaunted and whether Congress was actively misled.  CLICK HERE to read all of Constitutional Law Professor Jonathan Turley’s analysis. Excerpts and highlights from CBS's exclusive coverage of the Committee's investigation. "Institute directors with discretion to award billions or even hundreds of millions in research funding are, by definition, exercising significant authority pursuant to the laws of the United States. As such, institute directors are the quintessential 'inferior officers,'" a former senior HHS official told CBS News. " The Secretary cannot delegate his or her constitutional authority to appoint inferior officers. It is my understanding that prior administrations of both parties zealously guarded the appointments process and took care to ensure that inferior officers were properly appointed ," said the former senior official, who previously served in the Bush, Reagan and Trump administrations. CLICK HERE to read more in CBS News. CLICK HERE to read more about the Committee’s investigation.

Jul 11, 2023
In the News

Nearly 90 Percent of Americans Support Health Care Price Transparency

Bipartisan PATIENT Act Gains Momentum as Experts Voice Support Americans want more health care transparency and lower prices. The bipartisan PATIENT Act , led by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), will help Americans get access to the right care, at the right time, at a price they can afford. Solutions in the PATIENT Act —like increasing price transparency and addressing the cost of prescription drugs— are supported by the vast majority of Americans . Nearly 90% of Americans support strengthening price transparency requirements and nearly 85% of Americans favor solutions that prevent them from having to pay more for their prescription drugs than their insurance company. Check out the below opinion pieces featured in Newsweek and RealClear Policy for more on support of the PATIENT Act . Last month, the Energy and Commerce Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously reported out The Patient Act ( H.R. 3561 ), which would require hospitals and health insurance companies to post the true prices of their medical services. Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) are sponsoring this legislation, one of six bipartisan committee measures to help patients and improve the functioning of the nation's troubled health care markets.   Today, few health care policy proposals attract broad bipartisan support. Health care price transparency, however, is one of those rare "unicorns." In this case, the bipartisanship has been given a boost, because the Biden administration has largely embraced and continued the Trump administration's groundbreaking regulatory efforts to require hospitals and health insurance companies to reveal their real prices.   Nearly 90 percent of Americans support health care price transparency, Washington has a golden opportunity to improve the lives of millions of Americans through a more affordable and competitive health care marketplace . In a recent report for The Heritage Foundation , we outlined several policy options for Congress to consider, which would benefit all Americans.   CLICK HERE to continue reading more from David N. Bernstein and Robert E. Moffit in Newsweek. Next up: The PATIENT Act ( Promoting Access to Treatments and Increasing Extremely Needed Transparency Act ) to tackle health care costs by increasing transparency and competition. After numerous hearings, the bill passed through the Energy and Commerce Committee 49-0, and a House floor vote is expected in July. Here is a section-by-section summary. One reason for this progress is that the legislative process is going through “regular order” for the first time in years. That means that a Member proposes a legislative idea, hearings are held, and the relevant subcommittee considers and reports the bill to the full committee. The full committee then debates the measure and, if approved, it goes to the Floor for a vote, after passing through the Rules Committee which decides the process for offering amendments. This is what’s happening now, straight out of Civics 101. CLICK HERE to continue reading from Grace-Marie Turner in RealClear Policy.