On The Hill

Health Update (February 25)

Feb 25, 2019 | SHARE  
Grandfathered Health Plans


This week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) put out a Request for Information (RFI) regarding grandfathered health plans and group health insurance coverage. The RFI indicated that there is “little information available regarding such coverage” and that the Departments of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services ordered to the request to “better understand the challenges that group health plans and group health insurance issuers face in avoiding a loss of grandfathered status.”[1] Public comment must be received no later than 5 pm on Saturday, March 23rd. To read the full RFI, please click here.


Online Health Privacy Briefing


Energy and Commerce (E&C) Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Chairwoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday (2/19) in light of consumer complaints that private health data on Facebook was exposed. The two E&C leaders indicated that these data breaches “raise a number of concerns about Facebook’s privacy policies and practices.”[2] To read the full letter, click here. The committee has requested a briefing from Facebook by March 1, 2019.


Drug Pricing


Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) said this week that he wants to work with President Donald Trump to import prescription drugs from Canada to Florida. While no Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary has ever granted approval for such a program, President Trump’s administration has indicated they want to tackle the high cost of prescription drugs. Importation from Canada is one among many legislative proposals discussed on Capitol Hill, and Gov. DeSantis said that President Trump is on board with the idea. Currently, Vermont is the only state in the country with a prescription drug importation law on the books, but it has not submitted an application to HHS to implement such a plan.[3]


On Tuesday this week, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh regarding the state’s law that would bar drug makers from price gouging. The 2017 law, which was nullified in April of last year, would ban generic drug makers from raising prices on their drugs. While this appeal was unsuccessful, Maryland lawmakers are now pushing legislation to create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board, which would set payment levels for drugs.[4]




[1] “Request for Information Regarding Grandfathered Group Health Plans and Grandfathered Group Health Insurance Coverage.” Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 21 Feb 2019. https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2019-03170.pdf

[2] “E&C Leaders Demand Briefing from Facebook on Exposure of Users’ Personal Health Information in Closed Groups.” Energy & Commerce Committee, 19 Feb 2019. https://pallone.house.gov/media/press-releases/ec-leaders-demand-briefing-facebook-exposure-users-personal-health-information

[3] Associated Press. “Florida governor Ron DeSantis wants to import prescription drugs from Canada.” CBS News, 21 Feb 2019. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/florida-governor-ron-desantis-wants-to-import-prescription-drugs-from-canada/

[4] Lev Facher. “Supreme Court deals a fatal blow to Maryland drug ‘price gouging’ law.” Stat News, 19 Feb 2019. https://www.statnews.com/2019/02/19/supreme-court-declines-case-on-maryland-drug-price-gouging-law/


The Week Ahead

For the main events of the next week and more, go straight to the key events on the house.gov website.

Find out more >

The Week Ahead

For the main events of the next week and more, go straight to the key events on the senate.gov website.

Find out more >

Post Archive