Federal Health Legislation

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The below list features selected proposed legislation from the 115th Congress affecting cancer-related Federal health care issues.  In this section, you will also find proposed legislative initiatives for related Federal agencies, such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Missed Opportunities in Public Health and Biomedical Research Act of 2017 (H.R. 4353)

  • The bill would require the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to report on research funding requests that had the greatest potential for improving public health, but were not funded.
  • The bill would require the Director of NIH to submit a report to Congress by the last day of the first fiscal quarter following the end of each fiscal year identifying for each institute and center:
    • The success rate of grant applications reviewed during such fiscal year;
    • The top two grant applications reviewed during such fiscal year that were not funded; and
    • If the success rate is lower than 32 percent, the top grant applications that were reviewed and could have been funded to achieve a success rate of at least 32 percent.
  • H.R. 4353 was introduced by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) on 11/9/17 and the bill was referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee.
  • Read the full bill text on Congress.gov.

Tobacco to 21 Act (S. 2100/H.R. 4273)

  • The bill would prohibit the sale or distribution of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21.
  • The bill would authorize the DHHS Secretary to enforce such prohibition, including undercover compliance checks, retailer inspections, and initiating enforcement actions for non-compliance.
  • The bill would require the Secretary to set forth requirements for identification checks by vendors.
  • The bill would not preempt State or local government laws prohibiting tobacco sale to minors if such laws were at least as restrictive as the Federal law.
  • S. 2100 was introduced by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) on 11/8/17 and was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
  • H.R. 4273 was introduced by Rep. Diane DeGette (D-CO) on 11/7/17 and was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
  • Read the full bill text on Congress.gov.

    Additional Information:  Sen. Schatz and Rep. DeGette introduced similar legislation in the 114th Congress.

Prostate Cancer Misdiagnosis Elimination Act of 2017 (H.R. 2557/S. 2067)

  • The bill would amend the Social Security Act to provide for coverage of certain DNA Specimen Provenance Assay clinical diagnostic laboratory tests under the Medicare program for patients who have positive prostate cancer biopsy results to be sure that the patient’s biopsy tissue matches the DNA from a cheek swab of the same patient.
  • H.R. 2557 would require the Secretary of HHS to conduct a review of a sample of at least 50 claims for DNA Specimen Provenance Assay clinical diagnostic laboratory tests and post on the CMS website the number of claims with errors identified in the reviews.
  • S. 2067 would require the Secretary of HHS to review at least three years of claims to identify whether the DNA of the prostate biopsy specimens matched the DNA of the individuals tested and post the findings of the review on the CMS website.
  • H.R. 2557 was introduced by Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) on 5/19/17 and was referred to the Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees.
  • S. 2067 was introduced by Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) on 11/2/17 and was referred to the Committee on Finance.
  • Read the full bill text on Congress.gov.

Breast Density and Mammography Reporting Act of 2017 (H.R. 4122/S. 2006)

  • The bill would amend the Mammography Quality Standards Act (MSQA) of 1992 to require mammography results to include information about a patient’s breast density, and for that information to be reported to patients and their physicians in their mammography results summary.
  • The bill directs the Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary to establish reporting requirements based on current scientific knowledge, and also requires that the summary communicate the effect of dense breast tissue in masking breast cancer on mammography. For women with results indicating they have dense breast tissue, the summary must also include language encouraging them to consult with their physician regarding whether additional screening would be beneficial.
  • The bill also directs the HHS to “expand and intensify” HHS programs related to (1) applied research on breast density; (2) research on the cost-effectiveness, effectiveness, and feasibility of reimbursement models for supplemental imaging related to breast density; (3) research supporting clinical guidelines and best practices for mammography screening for women with dense breasts.
  • H.R. 4122 was introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) on 10/25/17 and the bill was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
  • S. 2006 was introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) on 10/25/17 and the bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
  • Read the full bill text on Congress.gov.

    Additional Information: Rep. DeLauro introduced similar legislation in the 111th, 112th, 113th, and 114th Congresses.  Sen. Feinstein introduced similar legislation in the 113th and 114th Congresses.  The section directing HHS to expand and intensify relevant research efforts was not included in the proposals until the 113th Congress. 

Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2017 (H.R. 3338)

  • The bill would require health plans to provide coverage for a minimum hospital stay for mastectomies, lumpectomies, and lymph node dissection for the treatment of breast cancer, as well as coverage for secondary consultations.
  • H.R. 3338 was introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro on 7/20/2017 and was referred to the Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, and Education and the Workforce Committees.
  • Read the full bill text on Congress.gov.

Deferment for Active Cancer Treatment Act of 2017 (H.R. 2976)

  • The bill would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to allow for deferment of certain federal student loans while a borrower is receiving cancer treatment as well as the six months following treatment.
  • H.R. 2976 was introduced by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) on 6/21/2017 and was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce.
  • Read the full bill text on Congress.gov.

Robin Danielson Feminine Hygiene Product Safety Act of 2017 (H.R. 2379)

  • The bill would require the Director of NIH to conduct or support research to determine the extent to which the presence of dioxins, synthetic fibers, chlorine, and other components in tampons and other feminine hygiene products pose any risks to the health of women who use the products or the health of their children.
  • The bill would require periodic reports on the results of the research to Congress, the FDA Commissioner, the Administrator of the EPA, the Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and to the public.
  • H.R. 2379 was introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) on 5/4/2017 and was referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee.
  • Read the full bill text on Congress.gov.

Protecting Access to Lifesaving Screenings Act (PALS Act) of 2017 (H.R. 2307)

  • The bill would require that any provision of law that refers to the current United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations relating to breast cancer screening mammography be administered in a manner consistent with the 2009 USPSTF breast cancer screening mammography recommendations to postpone any change in health plan coverage of mammograms that might result from the most recent USPSTF recommendations.
  • If enacted, the provision would be effective from the date of enactment until January 1, 2020.
  • H.R. 2307 was introduced by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) on 5/3/2017 and was referred to the Committees on Energy and Commerce; Ways and Means; and Veterans’ Affairs.
  • Read the full bill text at Congress.gov.

Patient Experience in Research Act of 2017 (H.R. 2244)

  • The bill would require the Secretary to carry out a pilot project to evaluate the psychological and social distress experienced by patients participating in clinical trials of drugs intended to treat serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions as well as the effects of providing psychological and social support to those patients showing signs of distress on the primary outcome measures of the clinical trial.
  • The Secretary would be required to competitively select up to 3 drug sponsors to complete the evaluations for this pilot project.
  • H.R. 2244 was introduced by Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) on 4/28/2017 and was referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee.
  • Read the full bill text on Congress.gov.

American Cures Act (S. 640)

  • The bill would amend the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 to allow larger increases in appropriations for the NIH, CDC, the DoD health program, and the VA medical and prosthetics research program by making cap adjustments to discretionary spending limits for FY 2017 through FY 2021.
  • The bill would require annual appropriations for each of the agencies and programs described to be at least the amount appropriated for FY 2016 and also exempts them from sequestration.
  • S. 640 was introduced by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) on 3/15/2017 and was referred to the Budget Committee.
  • Read the full bill text on Congress.gov.

Cancer Drug Coverage Parity Act of 2017 (H.R. 1409)

  • The bill would require group and individual health insurance coverage and group health plans to provide coverage of oral anticancer drugs on terms no less favorable than those provided for anticancer medications administered by a health care provider.
  • This bill would prohibit health insurers from changing, replacing, reclassifying, or applying more restrictive limitations on oral anticancer medications than those imposed on intravenously administered anticancer medications.
  • The bill would be effective beginning on or after January 1, 2018.
  • Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) introduced H.R. 2739 on 3/7/2017 and was referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee.
  • Read the full bill text on Congress.gov.

Cancer Care Payment Reform Act of 2017 (S. 463)

  • The bill would require the HHS Secretary to establish a national Oncology Medical Home Demonstration Project under the Medicare program to improve quality of care and cost efficiency by changing the Medicare payment process to include a care coordination management fee and performance incentive payments to participating oncology practices.
  • The Secretary would be required to develop performance standards for participating oncology practices based on specific measures including patient care, resource utilization, survivorship, end-of-life care, and patient experience.
  • Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced S. 463 on 2/28/2017 and was referred to the Senate Finance Committee.
  • Read the full bill text on Congress.gov.

Firefighter Cancer Registry Act of 2017 (H.R. 931/S. 382)

  • The bill directs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to establish a voluntary registry of firefighters to collect relevant history and occupational information and to link the voluntary registry to available cancer registry data collected by state cancer registries.
  • H.R. 931 was introduced by Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) on 2/7/2017 and was referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee. The bill was passed by the House on 9/12/2017 and was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions the following day.
  • S. 382 was introduced by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) on 2/15/2017 and was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
  • Read the full bill text on Congress.gov.

Scientific Integrity Act (S. 338/H.R. 1358)

  • The bill would require the Directors of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to establish policies to protect scientists (engineers are also specifically included in H.R. 1358) and the scientific endeavor, including preventing the intentional and unintentional tampering of data and safeguarding open communication of scientific findings from federally funded research. These bills would codify existing policies that extend from a 2009 executive order requiring federal agencies to detail how they would safeguard scientific integrity. Specifically, the legislation would: 
    • Reaffirm the principle of open communication of scientific findings and prevent the suppression of scientific findings.
    • Ensure that scientists (engineers are also specifically included in H.R. 1358) are allowed to communicate their findings with the public, press, and Congress.
    • Direct federal agencies to develop scientific integrity policies that include whistleblower protections.
    • Require scientific integrity policies to be posted online and given to all new hires.
  • S. 338 was introduced by Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) on 2/7/2017 and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. 
  • H.R. 1358 was introduced by Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) on 3/2/2017 and was referred to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Committee. 
  • Read the full bill text on Congress.gov.

Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Amendments of 2017 (S. 197/H.R. 2049)

  • The bill would amend the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act to extend the Radiation Exposure Compensation Trust Fund until 19 years after enactment of this Act.
  • Among other provisions, the bill would expand the downwind exposure area eligible for RECA compensation to include Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and New Mexico, as well as any county in Arizona, Nevada, or Utah.
  • The bill would make miners, core drillers, and ore transporters who suffer renal cancer or any other chronic renal disease, including nephritis and kidney tubal tissue injury, eligible for compensation due to exposure to radiation while on the job.
  • The bill also directs the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, to establish a program of grants to institutions of higher education to study the epidemiological impacts of uranium mining and milling among non-occupationally exposed individuals, including family members of uranium miners and millers.
  • H.R. 2049 also includes an additional provision that would expand compensation eligibility to those that were exposed to radiation during the cleanup of Enewetak Atoll between January 1, 1977 and December 31, 1980.
  • S. 197 was introduced by Sens. Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Tom Udall (D-NM) on 1/24/2017 and referred to the Judiciary Committee.
  • H.R. 2049 was introduced by Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) on 4/6/2017 and was referred to the Committees on Judiciary; Education and the Workforce; and Energy and Commerce.
  • Read the full bill text on Congress.gov.

USPSTF Transparency and Accountability Act of 2017 (H.R. 539)

  • This bill would amend the Public Health Services Act to revise the operations of the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).
  • The bill would require the Task Force to publish research plans to guide the review of scientific evidence and new science related to the effectiveness of clinical preventive services in consultation with other Federal agencies including the NIH and NCI.
  • In addition, the bill would require the Task Force to convene a preventive services advisory board to advise the Task Force on developing, updating, publishing, and disseminating evidence-based recommendations on the use of clinical preventive services.
    • The advisory board shall include representatives of patient groups; providers of clinical services; and Federal departments and agencies, including NIH and NCI.
  • The bill would require the GAO to submit a report that includes a listing of the current Task Force recommendations; a comparison of those recommendations to those of other Federal health agencies; and an analysis of the impact of the Task Force’s recommendations on insurance coverage, access, and outcomes, including the impact on morbidity and mortality.
  • H.R. 539 was introduced by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) on 1/13/2017 and was referred to the Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees.
  • Read the full bill text on Congress.gov.

Byron Nash Renal Medullary Carcinoma Awareness Act of 2017 (H.R. 148)

  • This bill would amend the Social Security Act to provide incentives for education on the risk of renal medullary carcinoma to Medicaid recipients with sickle cell disease.
  • H.R. 148 was introduced by Rep. Al Green (D-TX) on 1/3/2017 and was referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee.
  • Read the full bill text on Congress.gov.
  • Updated: December 7, 2017