California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Lawmakers To Hold Slew of Hearings on Expiring Health Care Policies

On Monday, congressional lawmakers returned from the Easter recess to a slew of hearings intended to address several expiring health care policies, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports.

Medical Malpractice Legislation

On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee will mark up medical malpractice legislation that would limit non-economic damages at $250,000. The House last month passed a similar bill (HR 5), which included language to repeal the federal health reform law's Independent Payment Advisory Board.

The bill being debated Tuesday does not include the IPAB language, but it would allow the committee to find $39 billion in savings to meet requirements included in House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) House-approved fiscal year 2013 budget resolution.

Rx Drug & Medical Device User Fees

Meanwhile, the House and Senate as early as this week could issue legislation updating the prescription drug and medical device user fees, which expire on Sept. 30.

The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee on Wednesday will conduct a hearing on the user fees and "how innovation helps patients and jobs," according to a hearing brief.

Other Hearings

Also on Wednesday, the Senate Special Committee on Aging will hold a hearing on the future of long-term care and cost-saving strategies.

On Thursday, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg is scheduled to testify before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on the agency's $4.5 billion request for FY 2013, a $650 million increase over the FY 2012 budget.

On the same day, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing on delays by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in setting standards that affect workers' safety.

Lawmakers also are expected to continue work on a deficit deal that also would avert an automatic 2% reduction to physicians' Medicare reimbursement rates on Jan. 1, 2013, when the current "doc fix" expires (Pecquet, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 4/16).

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