House plans vote on amended FDA user fee reauthorization bill, hears from docs on Medicare payment fix

The GOP-led House will vote on an amended version of the FDA reauthorization bill, and medical officials are urging action on Medicare payments.

HealthBeat: House To Take Up Amended FDA User Fee Reauthorization
The House is expected to vote on passage of an amended reauthorization bill for the Food and Drug Administration's user fee programs on May 30, upon the chamber's return from its Memorial Day recess. House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., released a substitute amendment on Friday that aims to keep the bipartisan measure from adding to the deficit. A Congressional Budget Office cost estimate released Thursday found that the bill would add $247 million to the federal deficit over 10 years (Ethridge, 5/25).

Minnesota Public Radio: Consumer Groups Unhappy With Bill Easing Medical Device FDA Review Process
Congress is considering some legislation of great interest to Minnesota's medical device industry, which employs some 35,000 people in the state. Device companies say the legislation will speed up the lengthy process of federal approval required to bring the new life-saving devices to market. But some consumer groups argue that Congress is missing an opportunity to strengthen a review process for the Food and Drug Administration that they say is too lenient. … The legislation more than doubles the fees medical device and drug companies pay the Food and Drug Administration for safety reviews. These med-tech companies will pay the agency about $600 million over five years, to fund an increase in review staffing (Moylan, 5/29).

Meanwhile, medical groups are urging Congress to change the Medicare reimbursement formula.

Modern Healthcare: MGMA, AMA Repeat Call For SGR Repeal
Two organizations representing the country's doctors and practice managers reiterated their position that Congress should repeal the sustainable growth-rate formula and outlined alternative approaches to the current Medicare physician payment system. The appeals from the MGMA-ACMPE and the American Medical Association to the House Ways and Means Committee were in response to the panel's April request for comments on different approaches to the way physicians are reimbursed in the Medicare program (Zigmond, 5/26).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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