House To Vote On Tweaked Transparency, PBM & Extenders Package Next Week

Inside Health Policy

September 13, 2023 4:32 pm

The House plans to take up a tri-committee package of pharmacy benefit manager reforms, provider price transparency, hospital drug administration site-neutral pay and extenders next week under suspension of the rules, according to the Congressional Budget Office, but that office does not yet have an estimate on the cost of the package.

Under the suspension of the rules, floor debate is limited prior to a House vote and all floor amendments are prohibited while points of order against the bill are waived and final passage requires a two-thirds majority vote.

The Lower Costs, More Transparency Act was unveiled last week by the Energy & Commerce, Ways & Means and Education & the Workforce committees, though the version set to be taken up under suspension tweaks a provision on ambulatory surgical center price transparency so it would not be limited only to ASCs owned by hospitals.

The package draws in part from the PATIENT Act, which passed the House Energy & Commerce Committee on a bipartisan basis, as well as from legislation passed by the Ways & Means Committee on a partisan basis.

While House Energy & Commerce ranking Democrat Frank Pallone (NJ) is listed as a cosponsor of the merged legislation, the ranking Democrats from Ways & Means and Education & the Workforce are not listed.

However, Julius Hobson, senior policy advisor at Polsinelli, said opting to bring the legislation to the floor under the suspension of the rules likely means House leadership believes it has the necessary support. The move could also give the package momentum heading into the upper chamber, Hobson said.

McDermott+Consulting earlier this week said the House package could be a way of setting parameters for a year-end bill, though others said the package could be a way to tackle certain expiring health programs without attaching them to a potentially contentious continuing resolution.

CBO’s notice on the bills to be taken up under the suspension of the rules does not include a score for the Lower Costs, More Transparency Act, however.

“CBO has limited time to review the legislation before consideration. Although it is possible in most cases to determine whether the legislation would affect direct spending or revenues, time may be insufficient to estimate the magnitude of those effects,” CBO says.

CBO previously estimated the PATIENT Act as passed by Energy & Commerce would save about $365 million over 10 years. — Michelle M. Stein (