September 10, 2021
House Energy and Commerce Committee releases fact sheet outlining health care and other reconciliation proposals
On September 9, the House Energy and Commerce Committee said it is set to move forward with its portion of the Build Back Better Act, to be marked up on Monday, September 13. The full text of the committee's legislation has not been released, but a fact sheet (attached below) outlines a slew of policies that "fulfill the Committee's commitment to making investments in lowering costs for American families, revitalizing our economy, and combating the climate crisis."
Among the health policies in the plan are proposals to lower the cost of prescription drugs through price negotiation and other means; expand access to Medicare dental, vision, and hearing coverage; close the so-called Medicaid coverage gap; invest $190 billion in home- and community-based services; permanently extend the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP); expand maternal health care; provide funding to start the Biden administration's proposed biomedical research agency, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), and more.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) previously estimated the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act (H.R. 3) could save the federal government more than $456 billion over ten years, and has been eyed as a crucial component to help pay for the reconciliation package. The outline provided in the fact sheet does not indicate whether negotiated prices would be extended to the commercial market, as initially proposed, however a proposal to require drug manufacturers who increase their prices faster than inflation to pay the excess back to the federal government notes that it will hold down prices for consumers "both on Medicare and those with employer-sponsored insurance." Budget reconciliation rules might prevent the Senate Finance Committee from extending Medicare prices to the commercial market, but that is still up for debate.
Another proposal to block implementation of a Trump Administration regulation that would increase premiums for Part D beneficiaries is also estimated to raise around $180 billion, however a delay of the rule was included in the Senate-passed infrastructure legislation and if passed would reduce these savings. The dental, vision, and hearing provisions are expected to match those of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Additional information is available in the attached Tax Alert.
House Energy and Commerce proposals