The US senate recently took a decision to change its strategy on the health policy. As of now, the largely followed health policy, H.R.6, is based on the 21st Century Cures Bill. The House of Representatives passed it last summer.
The senate’s decision is appreciated on the ground that it hasn’t merely tried to pass its own version of the House legislation that has a bipartisan nature. The Senate plans to introduce multiple small bills that would gather bipartisan support. Following that, it would turn its focus on to the individual portions of the house bill.
As per the provisions in H.R.6, it is necessary to give out increased funding to National Institute of Health. It is hoped that giving more funding to the agency would help streamline the drug approval process of Food and Drug Administration.
Another notable point in the H.R.6 policy is EHR interoperability. Most senators had disagreement regarding the substance of the bill. However, the parliamentary procedure problems seem to have made it tied up.
Interestingly, there was a confusion regarding the classification of the new spending bill. Some senators proposed that it should be classified as mandatory while others suggested classifying it as discretionary. The senate noted that there would be a tight window for approving or passing any new legislation in the country in 2016 because of the upcoming presidential election. If any new legislation to be passed for this year, it has to be done before mid-July.
Meanwhile, Senator Lamar Alexander said he was hopeful that the committee would have an independent and strong suggestion and opinion for companion legislation. On the other hand, other senators expressed concerns over this because the draft of the legislation is not yet released.
For any successful legislation, a draft of the same is supposed to be released at least a few months in advance. Since the draft for the proposed legislation is not yet released and there is no time to release the draft and then pass it before the Presidential election, the possibilities for the passing of the companion legislation are very low.
As far as the EHR interoperability is concerned, the HELP committee has come up with smaller bills. Furthermore, it is planning to hold two additional markups in the coming months. The committee said it would follow up the EHR interoperability issues in the meetings.