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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
Big Tech

TikTok CEO to Testify at Energy and Commerce Committee

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) today announced that TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew will appear before the committee to testify on TikTok’s consumer privacy and data security practices, the platforms’ impact on kids, and their relationship with the Chinese Communist Party. It will be Chew’s first appearance before a Congressional committee.  “Big Tech has increasingly become a destructive force in American society. The Energy and Commerce Committee has been at the forefront of asking Big Tech CEOs – from Facebook to Twitter to Google – to answer for their companies’ actions. These efforts will continue with TikTok. ByteDance-owned TikTok has knowingly allowed the ability for the Chinese Communist Party to access American user data. Americans deserve to know how these actions impact their privacy and data security, as well as what actions TikTok is taking to keep our kids safe from online and offline harms. We’ve made our concerns clear with TikTok. It is now time to continue the committee’s efforts to hold Big Tech accountable by bringing TikTok before the committee to provide complete and honest answers for people.”  Chew will testify at a full committee hearing of the Energy and Commerce Committee on March 23, 2023. Additional details to follow. 



Jan 27, 2023
On the House Floor

Chair Rodgers Applauds Passage of H.R. 21 to Protect the SPR

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) applauded the House passing H.R. 21, the Strategic Production Response Act, which would help ensure the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is available during a true energy emergency and not abused for non-emergency, political purposes. “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. 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.”



Jan 27, 2023
Press Release

Chair Rodgers Announces E&C Full Committee Organizational Meeting for the 118th Congress

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) today announced the Full Committee Organizational Meeting for the 118th Congress.  MEETING NOTICE: Full Committee Organizational Meeting for the 118th Congress   WHAT : A meeting to formally organize the committee  DATE : Tuesday, January 31, 2023  TIME : 10:00 AM ET  LOCATION : 2123 Rayburn House Office Building  AGENGA :  Welcome and opening remarks by the Chair and Ranking Member,  Introduction of new members of the Committee  Approval of the rules of the Committee for the 118th Congress  Adoption of the six standing subcommittees  Announcement of the Republican Subcommittee Chairs, Vice Chairs, and Subcommittee members  Announcement of Democratic Subcommittee Ranking Members and Subcommittee members  Adoption of the oversight plan  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 https://energycommerce.house.gov/ .



Jan 27, 2023
Press Release

Chair Rodgers: HHS’s OIG Report Confirms our Concerns with NIH’s Funding of EcoHealth Alliance

Report Also Raises New Concerns of NIH Favoritism to EcoHealth Alliance Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) issued the following statement regarding the release of a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) report titled: “ The National Institutes of Health and EcoHealth Alliance Did Not Effectively Monitor Awards and Subawards, Resulting in Missed Opportunities to Oversee Research and Other Deficiencies .”  “The American people have a right to know what types of potentially risky research their tax dollars are funding. This OIG Report reaffirms many issues Energy and Commerce Republicans have continued to raise with NIH’s negligence in holding EcoHealth Alliance accountable to the terms of grant agreements. Furthermore, the report raises even more questions from the Committee about the apparent special treatment given to EcoHealth Alliance.  “The Energy and Commerce Committee will build off the information in this report as we continue our investigation into the origins of COVID-19 and our oversight of our public health agencies. We must shine a light on any government failures and improper actions in order to correct course moving forward and restore public trust.”  Chair Rodgers, along with Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA) and Health Subcommittee Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY), wrote to NIH on October 24, 2022 , regarding the resumption of NIH funding to EcoHealth Alliance.  KEY LETTER EXCERPT : “We write to request information on why NIH provided new funding to EcoHealth Alliance (EcoHealth), and why NIH is considering a resumption of funding for work under a suspended grant to EcoHealth, given EcoHealth’s documented failures to comply with NIH grant terms and the outstanding questions concerning EcoHealth’s conduct.    “NIH records show that on September 22, 2022, the NIH funded EcoHealth through a new award grant 1R011AI163118-01A1 after suspending EcoHealth’s grant R01AI110964 for more than two years (R01 award). Funding this new award grant and NIH’s intentions to resume funding for EcoHealth under the R01 award as indicated in the August 19, 2022, letter to Republican Committee Leader Rodgers seem inexplicable given NIH’s previous findings of EcoHealth’s noncompliance with grant terms and the serious concerns about EcoHealth raised in our four letters without a response from NIH.”   The Chairs also wrote to NIH on June 10, 2021 , regarding the resumption of NIH funding to EcoHealth Alliance.  KEY LETTER EXCERPT : “Since the Republican committee leaders March 18, 2021 letter to NIH, our investigation has found a number of additional issues that raise very serious concerns about the adequacy of NIH’s oversight of grantees. The following newly found issues appear troubling and given the significance of these concerns, we expect the NIH to respond fully and substantively. Minority [then Republican] committee staff is continuing to work with your staff to schedule an NIH briefing. The NIH should be prepared to address these issues at the briefing, in addition to all of the questions from the March 18, 2021 letter that presently remain unanswered.”  



Jan 26, 2023
On the House Floor

Chair Rodgers Leads Floor Debate on H.R. 21

Washington, D.C. —  House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) led debate on the House Floor today to promote H.R. 21, the Strategic Production Response Act . Below are highlights and excerpts from her remarks: PLACING AMERICA OVER CHINA “Two weeks ago, this body sent a strong message that we must ensure our nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) will not advance the energy interests of China over the energy security interests of Americans. “The bill today will help ensure this vital American energy asset – and American security interests — will not be drained away for non-emergency, political purposes. “This bill is about restoring America’s energy security. “It provides a path towards making energy more affordable for Americans, who are looking to us to help ease the pain at the pump. “H.R. 21 does this by preserving the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for its vital and central purpose — to provide the oil supplies Americans need during true emergencies: emergencies like supply disruptions that threaten the nation’s economy, or the loss of oil production due to hurricanes and other disasters. “Put simply, under this bill, if an administration chooses to use the reserve for non-emergency political purposes, it will first have to plan that an equal amount would be reinstated from American energy resources. “The SPR should be used as a tool of ‘last resort.’ This is sensible energy policy.” BIDEN JEOPARDIZING AMERICA’S ENERGY SECURITY “It is also urgent policy.  At present, the SPR’s ability to protect Americans has been put at risk by this administration. "More than 250 million barrels of oil, approximately 40% of the reserve, has been drawn down in less than two years - more than all former presidents in history, combined, all to cover up historically high gas prices in an election year. That's irresponsible. "The Biden administration has undermined our nation's ability to respond to true energy emergencies by mismanaging our nation's strategic energy stockpile. "At the same time, the Administration has taken every action to suppress America's mighty energy-production abilities. "Unbelievably, the Biden administration has turned to Venezuela and Saudi Arabia to pump more oil instead of working to lift their regulatory restraints on American energy producers. "America's oil production and refining capacity remains one million barrels below peak levels under the prior administration. We have the world's most abundant resources and the capacity to product millions more barrels per day. “America should never be at the mercy of OPEC or Russia. “Energy security is economic security, it’s national security, it’s all connected. It’s foundational to everything.” UNLEASHING AMERICAN ENERGY AGENDA “We should be unleashing American energy on all fronts. “Don’t forget, the U.S. has some of highest environmental and labor standards in the world and we’ve been a leader in bringing down carbon emissions, we did this by embracing innovation and our abundant natural resources, not by shutting down entire industries. “Right now, America is suffering through the worst energy crisis in decades, and gas prices are still surging upwards. “President Biden and the Democrats’ radical ‘rush to green’ agenda has made life unaffordable for people across the country. “It has driven up inflation, strained household budgets, and weakened our electric grid and gas prices have risen to the highest levels in history. “Some were forced to pay more than $6 dollars per gallon. Gas prices are still 40% higher today and diesel prices are up almost $2 a gallon more than when President Biden took office. “It is time to flip the switch. It’s time to end the politically motivated abuse of the SPR and focus on American energy and American security. “Let’s send a strong signal this Congress that we stand for energy security, preserving the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, restoring America’s energy dominance, and providing for the prosperity of all Americans.”



Chairs Rodgers and Latta Announce First Communications and Technology Subcommittee Hearing of the 118th Congress

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and incoming Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chair Bob Latta (R-OH) today announced a hearing on ensuring America continues to lead in the burgeoning satellite communications industry.  “Next-generation satellite technologies are revolutionizing the communications marketplace. Yet many of our nation’s laws and regulations haven’t been updated in decades. Given the growth and innovation in this sector, we must ensure the U.S. is keeping pace with this rapidly evolving industry. We look forward to this timely Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing on how to ensure America—not China—continues to lead this global industry.”  The Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Hearing is Entitled “Launching Into the State of the Satellite Marketplace”   WHAT : A hearing to discuss strengthening American leadership in next-generation satellite communications technology.  DATE: Thursday, February 2, 2023  TIME: 10:30 AM ET  LOCATION: 2123 Rayburn House Office Building  WITNESSES: Witnesses will be announced and are by invitation only.  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 https://energycommerce.house.gov/ . If you have any questions concerning the hearing, please contact Noah Jackson with the Committee staff at Noah.Jackson@mail.house.gov .  



Jan 25, 2023
Hearings

Chairs Rodgers and Griffith Announces First Oversight & Investigations Subcommittee Hearing

Members Will Discuss Recent Report on Biological Outbreak Investigations Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and upcoming Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA) today announced the first hearing of the 118th Congress in the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. It will focus on a report by the Government Accountability Office examining the challenges of investigating the origins of infectious disease pandemics and biological outbreaks as well as recommendations for improvement in the future.  “With more than a million American lives lost to the COVID-19 pandemic, uncovering the origins of future pandemics is the public health question of our lifetime. For the past two years, Energy and Committee Republicans have been pursuing an in-depth investigation into the early days of SARS-CoV-2 with an emphasis on the virus’ origins. As the committee begins to consider legislation to prevent future pandemics and biological outbreaks, it’s crucial that we understand what technologies and capacities we need to quickly determine an outbreak’s origins.”  Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Hearing Entitled: “Challenges and Opportunities to Investigating the Origins of Pandemics and Other Biological Events.”   WHAT : A hearing to discuss how to develop more capabilities for investigating the origins of pandemics and other biological events.  DATE : Wednesday, February 1, 2023  TIME : 2:00 PM ET  LOCATION : 2123 Rayburn House Office Building  WITNESSES : Witnesses will be announced and are by invitation only.     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 https://energycommerce.house.gov/ . If you have any questions concerning the hearing, please contact Lauren Eriksen with the Committee staff at Lauren.Eriksen@mail.house.gov .