House of Representatives
A new bipartisan bill seeks to drive down prescription drug costs for consumers and the federal government.
The Fair Access for Safe and Timely Generics Act or FAST Generics Act (H.R. 5657) was introduced late last week by Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT). It's goal is to close a loophole in drug safety rules (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies, or REMS) that allows name-brand drug manufactures to withhold access to some drug samples from generic manufactures, who generally use these samples to help produce safe and cheaper generic versions of drugs.
This bill comes on the heels of a report by Matrix Global Advisors that estimated:
[the] delay [in] generic market entry for these products totals $5.4 billion in lost savings to the U.S. health care system annually. The federal government bears a third of this burden, or $1.8 billion… Among government health care programs, Medicare, which accounts for nearly 26 percent of total U.S. prescription drug spending, experiences lost savings of $1.4 billion annually. The economic cost to Medicaid (both federal and state) totals $400 million.
The House passed today two bills permanently reinstating three tax provisions that expired at the end of 2013. Extending these provisions would cost about $75 billion. Because they approved these tax cuts without offsetting savings, the two bills would add about $95 billion to the deficit, including interest.
Reps. Peter Welch (D-VT) and Keith Rothfus (R-PA) have officially re-launched a bipartisan caucus in the House looking to promote the use of high-quality, low-cost drugs.
Appropriations season is in full swing. The House has already passed the Legislative Branch and Military Construction-Veterans Affairs bills, while the Senate Appropriations Commitee is scheduled to officially set 302(b) allocations and mark up the Military Construction-VA and Agriculture bills this Thursday.
Budgets for the upcoming fiscal year have been released from the White House, House Republicans, House Democrats, the Republican Study Committee, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and the Congressional Black Caucus. All of them offer competing visions for the size and scope of government over the next decade.
Just after House Democrats released their budget this week, the Republican Study Committee has come out with its own proposal to balance the budget in just four years. The budget reduces spending by $7.4 trillion over ten years relative to their baseline, which includes a war drawdown. By 2024, the budget produces a surplus of nearly $300 billion, or 1.1 percent of GDP.
Congressman Reid Ribble (R-WI) and Congressman Mark Pocan (D-WI) introduced the Long-Term Studies of Comprehensive Outcomes and Returns for the Economy Act, or Long-Term SCORE Act, today.
This blog has corrected the amount of Medicare savings in the budget. It previously said $50 billion, but that included the cost of repealing the Medicare sequester.
This morning, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan released his FY 2015 budget proposal, "The Path to Prosperity." The budget reaches balance in 2024 by cutting over $5.1 trillion of spending over ten years (relative to a "PAYGO baseline"), and it assumes an additional $175 billion in deficit reduction from a "fiscal dividend"
The House Financial Services Committee held a hearing this morning on "Why Debt Matters," which included testimony by Honeywell CEO Dave Cote, former CBO and OMB director Alice Rivlin, former CBO director and American Action Forum president Douglas Holtz-Eakin, and former economic adviser to Vice President Biden and current Center on Budget and Policy Priorities fellow Jared Bernstein.