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ICYMI: Guthrie Outlines Health Priorities for 116th Congress

Washington, April 1, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Congressman Brett Guthrie (KY-02), top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee and senior member of the committee’s Health Subcommittee, outlined his health care policy agenda for the 116th Congress at a policy summit last week.

Guthrie and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) announced at the summit that the Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations subcommittee is launching a bipartisan investigation on the rising costs of insulin.

Guthrie noted that while some innovative new drugs have high costs because of research and development investments, medicines like insulin that have existed for years should not face the same problem.

“Insulin is a very important drug, and while it has changed some, there hasn’t been a dramatic breakthrough over the last hundred years,” said Guthrie. “Unlike innovative new drugs, insulin isn’t a big blockbuster drug on the marketplace, but the list price continues to increase for most insulins on the market. I’m glad that we can really dig down into insulin and see what’s happening there and then maybe extrapolate that information throughout the entire pharmaceutical industry. It’s the perfect drug for us to look into drug pricing because so many people are affected by diabetes and so many people have to have insulin. It’s not an option for them and we have to figure out why costs are rising.”

The first hearing on the rising costs of insulin will take place on Tuesday, April 2, at 10:30 a.m. ET. Guthrie hopes to continue the bipartisan work he and DeGette have done already at the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, such as their hearing earlier this year on the measles outbreak.

Guthrie also discussed his legislation to extend the federal “Money Follows the Person” (MFP) program that helps certain Medicaid beneficiaries – such as the elderly or individuals with disabilities – to transition from a health care facility to receiving care in their own homes or community if they choose. Last week, the House passed a Medicaid package that included Guthrie’s initiative to extend the MFP program until the end of the fiscal year.

“Since the Money Follows the Person program was created over a decade ago, it has successfully helped over 88,000 individuals receive care in their own homes,” said Guthrie in a speech on the House floor on Monday. “I have worked with Congresswoman Debbie Dingell on the bipartisan EMPOWER Care Act, which extends the Money Follows the Person program for five years. I will continue to work with Congresswoman Dingell to get the EMPOWER Care Act across the finish line”

In addition to the EMPOWER Care Act, so far this year Guthrie has also introduced the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act to expand access to treatment options for Medicare beneficiaries affected by obesity, the Cancer Drug Parity Act to require health insurance plans that cover intravenous cancer treatments to also equally cover orally administered cancer medications, and the Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act to ensure Medicare providers are aware of a care planning benefit  for their patients with Alzheimer’s.