Committee on Energy and Commerce

Fred Upton

Bill Frist Highlights Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria - Solution Included In 21st Century Cures


Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Dr. Bill Frist (R-TN) on Monday weighed in on the fight against antibiotic resistant bacteria, making the case for a Limited-Population Antibacterial Drug pathway. In a column published by The Tennessean, Dr. Frist writes, “(T)he FDA has asked Congress to create a new approval pathway that will help advance the development of new antibiotics for specific, limited populations of patients—those with serious and life-threatening bacterial infections that are resistant to current treatments. This Limited-Population Antibacterial Drug (LPAD) pathway has broad, bipartisan support.” LPAD was an integral part of the 21st Century Cures Act, H.R. 6, which overwhelmingly passed the House. As Dr. Frist writes, “(W)e can’t afford to wait any longer.”

November 23, 2015

Approve Limited-Population Antibacterial Drug pathway

 By Former U.S. Senator Bill Frist

A recent study about antibiotic resistance hit close to home for me. It projected that drug-resistant bacteria are developing at a pace that could soon threaten the lives of thousands more surgery patients each year.

This study also revealed that as many as half of infections after surgery are already being caused by pathogens that don’t respond to standard antibiotics.

While the threat of antibiotic resistance may sometimes seem amorphous and removed from our daily lives, research like this helps to crystallize why there is growing urgency to address this issue. …

Over the past decade, the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has skyrocketed due to the overuse of antibiotics. These “superbugs” — difficult or impossible to treat with existing medications — are evolving quickly, spreading at an alarming rate, and outpacing our ability to fight them off. …

Unfortunately, the pipeline for new antibiotics is dwindling at a time when we need them most. Only nine new antibiotics were approved from 2000-2010, compared with 23 in the 1990s and 29 during the 1980s. …

As a result, the FDA has asked Congress to create a new approval pathway that will help advance the development of new antibiotics for specific, limited populations of patients—those with serious and life-threatening bacterial infections that are resistant to current treatments.

This Limited-Population Antibacterial Drug (LPAD) pathway has broad, bipartisan support.

Earlier this year, it was overwhelmingly approved by the House, as part of the 21st Century Cures Act, and in July, the Bipartisan Policy Center issued its “Advancing Medical Innovation for a Healthier America” report, which recommended that the Senate follow suit. …

From senior FDA officials and the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, to leading public health and medical organizations, we all agree: LPAD is smart and vital policy. …

LPAD offers Congress the opportunity for definitive and meaningful action to address what is one of the most pressing public health issues of our time. I urge the Senate to stay the course in advancing this critical legislation as part of its soon-to-be-released Innovations for Healthier Americans bill, and am thankful to Tennessee’s own Sen. Lamar Alexander for his role in leading the way.

For the sake of the millions of people acquiring multi-drug resistant infections in the U.S. each year, and the countless more at risk, we can’t afford to wait any longer.

To read the complete column, click here.


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Nonpartisan Watchdog Releases Unsettling Report on BioWatch Terror Surveillance Warning System


WASHINGTON, DC – House and Senate leaders today expressed concern after a new report was released by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office on the Homeland Security Department’s BioWatch program. Bipartisan leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee first requested the report in August 2013 as part of its ongoing investigation of the program aimed to detect and provide warning about potential biological attacks. Leaders from the House Committee on Homeland Security and Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs also joined in requesting this GAO report.

The BioWatch program has been affected by false alarms and other problems since its deployment in 2003. As a result of the setbacks, local and state officials where BioWatch systems have been deployed have expressed a lack of confidence in the technology and have admitted they are hesitant to rely on the program’s detection abilities. Congressional leaders have been concerned that BioWatch is not adequately fulfilling its role of protecting the public and has cost taxpayers more than $1 billion.

Of particular interest at the time of the request to GAO was the program’s “Generation-3” procurement. However, after the Generation-3 acquisition was canceled in April 2014 because of testing problems and other challenges, the focus of the GAO review turned to the Generation-2 system, which is what the Department of Homeland Security has been relying on for more than 12 years.

Among the most striking findings in the report is an assessment that, “The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) lacks reliable information about BioWatch Gen-2’s technical capabilities to detect a biological attack and therefore lacks the basis for informed cost-benefit decisions about upgrades to the system,” according to the report’s opening summary. The report continued by explaining that while DHS commissioned several tests of the current system, it “has not developed performance requirements that would enable it to interpret the test results and draw conclusions about the system’s ability to detect attacks.”

“This report confirms what many of us feared, that we are no safer today than when the BioWatch program launched over a decade ago,” said full committee Chairman Upton (R-MI), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), and Oversight and Investigations Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO). “Now more than ever we need reassurances that our efforts to combat and prevent bioterrorism are successful and trusted. It is clear that BioWatch has not lived up to the job it set out to do, and we must put our efforts toward finding a program that will be successful in detecting and preventing these catastrophic attacks.”

“The findings by the Government Accountability Office bring into focus shortcomings in the BioWatch program at a time when concerns about the threat of a bioterrorism event are elevated,” said House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX), Ranking Member Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications Subcommittee Chairman Martha McSally (R-AZ), and Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications Subcommittee Ranking Member Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ). “Earlier this month, the co-chairs of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense testified before our Committee on the threat posed by bioterrorism. They made it clear that that we must act aggressively and deliberately to bolster our ability to detect and rapidly respond to a bioterror event. We also know terrorist groups, like ISIS, aspire to conduct attacks using biological agents. These facts make the Government Accountability Office’s findings about BioWatch all the more concerning. The Committee on Homeland Security has a long history of oversight of the BioWatch Program, including oversight that resulted in the cancellation of the flawed Gen-3 acquisition. In the coming months, the Committee will continue this oversight to ensure that any future upgrades or enhancements to the system are based sound performance requirements and rigorous testing and that the technology is responsive to the current threat environment.” 

“I am supportive of efforts in early detection and mitigation of a biological attack against our homeland,” said Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI). “However, GAO raises serious questions about the uncertainty in the capabilities of the current BioWatch system.  We may be missing opportunities to properly support our biodefense infrastructure.  I will work with the department, and my colleagues to assess what significant changes are needed in BioWatch going forward to ensure that we are most efficiently utilizing our limited biodefense resources.”

Click here to access a copy of the GAO report.


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Committee Leaders Comment on Latest EPA Announcement Regarding Volkswagen’s Emissions Cheating


WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), and Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO) today commented on the inclusion of additional 3.0 liter diesel engines in the Environmental Protection Agency’s investigation of Volkswagen’s emissions cheating.

“Today’s announcement adds to the growing list of troubling questions for Volkswagen and we need answers,” said the leaders. “Our investigation continues”

The Energy and Commerce Committee is investigating the facts and circumstances around Volkswagen’s emissions cheating and how it went undetected for so long.


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21st Century Cures: A Critical Step Forward for Patients


H.R. 6 “puts the view of the patient in the center of drug discovery, development, and delivery, balanced by insights derived from data analytics, clinical science, and a more flexible approval process.”

Patients, advocates, researchers, and physicians continue to march together on the #Path2Cures. In the most recent issue of PharmaVOICE, leaders in the research community voice their support on behalf of the significant step forward 21st Century Cures takes for patients in the effort to deliver better, safer cures.

In the extensive article Max Bronstein, senior director of EveryLife Foundation for Rare Diseases, addresses concerns regarding H.R. 6, stating, “Detractors should listen to Dr. Woodcock, to Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Ostroff, and to two former FDA Commissioners, Dr. Mark McClellan and Dr. von Eschenbach. They’ve all gone on record saying the 21st Century Cures Act will not affect the safety standards that the FDA has put in place in its mandate for safety; it will not have any impact on safety whatsoever.”

Gene Kinney, Ph.D., chief scientific officer and head of research and development at Prothena, added, “The 21st Century Cure Act is one of several developments that I envision will usher in a more collaborative, patient-centric approach to develop new and innovative therapeutics, particularly in rare diseases.”

Steve Smith, Chief Patient Advocate at Medidata, puts it simply; “The act will speed clinical trials, make them safer, and make them more effective.”

21st Century Cures is a critical step forward for patients and their loved ones. The time for Cures is now.

21st Century Cures Act Holds Promise for Patients  

If the 21st Century Cures Act becomes law, the future will be bright for both patients and the pharmaceutical industry.

The 21st Century Cure Act, if passed, promises to promote the development and hasten the approval of new drugs and devices, especially treatments for cancer and rare diseases. It puts the view of the patient in the center of drug discovery, development, and delivery, balanced by insights derived from data analytics, clinical science, and a more flexible approval process. Clinical research provisions minimize unnecessary and duplicative administrative requirements, and to promote the broad availability of clinical research data, with adequate security and privacy measures, to advance medical product innovation. The bill also contains a provision to facilitate and encourage investigating treatments for rare diseases in clinical research.

The House overwhelmingly passed its version of the bill in July of this year and the Senate is reviewing its draft — called the Innovation for Healthier Americans — and plans to make it public for review in early fall. (For summaries of the House’s bill provisions, see bonus digital copy.)

Naysayers of the initiative raise concerns regarding patient safety, saying the act goes too far in pushing the FDA to speed up the drug approval process, and that the existing protocol is adequate and presents less of a risk to consumers.

According to reports from Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, those who say that the 21st Century Cures legislation lowers the standard of safety “are completely wrong.” Steve Smith, chief patient advocate, Medidata, quotes her directly from her presentation at the DIA annual meeting in Washingon, D.C., in June, where he asked her to clarify her remarks.

“Dr. Woodcock, who has taken the lead for the FDA in discussing the bill, said the FDA would be the first to protest if the act did compromise safety; she has said unequivocally that the 21st Century Cures bill is a good bill,” Mr. Smith says. “Dr. Woodcock clearly said it does not compromise safety and it does not lower the standard of efficacy that the FDA must uphold.” …

Read the complete article online here.





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E&C Takes Major Step In Fight to Protect Lake Michigan & U.S. Waters from Pesky Microbeads


This week the the House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), took a major step in protecting Lake Michigan and the nation’s waters from microbeads - small bits of plastic, often used as exfoliants in personal care products like face wash, body scrubs, and toothpaste that can slip through water treatment systems after they are washed down the drain.  The committee unanimously approved the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, which was introduced by Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Chairman Upton (R-MI) earlier this year. The bipartisan legislation would begin the phase out of plastic microbeads from personal care products on July 1, 2017. Chairman Upton commented, “Microbeads may be tiny plastic – but they are big time pollution, especially for our Great Lakes. This critical bipartisan bill will protect Lake Michigan and all of our waters from these pesky pieces of plastic. On their own, microbeads are nearly invisible, but once they’ve been flushed down the drain is where the trouble begins.”

November 18, 2015

Bill to ban microbeads advances in U.S. House

November 18, 2015

Bill banning microbeads moves forward in U.S. House

November 18, 2015

US House Energy and Commerce Committee advances bill to ban microbead use

November 18, 2015

Microbeads ban clears legislative hurdle

November 18, 2015

Legislation to ban microbeads advances in House

November 19, 2015 

Upton co-sponsored anti-microbead bill heads to U.S. House floor

November 19, 2015

Bill banning microbeads moves forward in U.S. House 

November 19, 2015

Bill to ban microbeads advances in Congress

November 19, 2015 

Upton co-sponsored anti-microbead bill heads to U.S. House floor





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Republican Members Take Action to Permanently Protect Small Businesses


WASHINGTON, DC – Republican members, including every Republican member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology and every Republican member of the House Small Business Committee, today wrote to the Federal Communications Commission requesting a permanent exemption from the open Internet order’s enhanced transparency requirements for small businesses. When adopting the rules earlier this year, the commission voted to provide a temporary exemption for small businesses. The members today requested that the commission make that exemption permanent.

“During the Open Internet proceeding, the FCC heard from small businesses regarding the impact of the FCC’s enhanced transparency requirements. In its Order, the Commission rightly recognized that small businesses are uniquely situated and granted small businesses a temporary exemption from the requirements. We applaud the Commission’s action in granting this temporary exemption and urge you to make it permanent,” wrote the members.

They continued, “Small businesses serve as the backbone of the United States economy. In fact, small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employers in the United States, create 63 percent of net new private-sector jobs, and create more than half of private, non-farm gross domestic product. These companies are the true ‘job creators,’ consistently responsible for 60% to 80% of net new jobs in each of the past 10 years. … Given the stakes for America’s small businesses, the FCC was right to exercise caution and grant the temporary exemption.  Now is the time to recognize the disproportionate impact that the requirements would have on these ISPs and their customers and make the exemption permanent. Additionally, the commission should grant the exemption to all small businesses that meet the definitions previously set by the [Small Business Administration].”

To read the letter, click HERE

The letter was signed by:

  • Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI)
  • Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH)
  • Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR)
  • Communications and Technology Subcommittee Vice Chairman Bob Latta (R-OH)
  • Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (TX)
  • Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL)
  • Energy and Commerce Committee Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
  • House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA)
  • Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ)
  • Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY)
  • Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX)
  • Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS)
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)
  • Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL)
  • Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH)
  • Rep. Billy Long (R-MO)
  • Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC)
  • Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY)
  • Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND)
  • Rep. Joseph R. Pitts (R-PA)
  • Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX)
  • Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK)
  • Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC)
  • Rep. Steve King (R-IA)
  • Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO)
  • Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY)
  • Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS)
  • Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY)
  • Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA)
  • Del. Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-America Samoa)
  • Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA)
  • Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL)
  • Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL)
  • Rep. Cresent Hardy (R-NV)
  • Rep. Trent Kelly (R-MS)


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Abundant Energy Powers United States-EU Collaboration


House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) recently hosted a transatlantic roundtable discussion with members of the European Parliament about energy policy and energy security.

The roundtable built upon relationships that Upton and bipartisan committee members established earlier this year when they traveled to key energy and policy hubs across Europe. During the roundtable, members highlighted opportunities to strengthen our collective energy security, lower energy prices, and reduce the threat of Russian aggression. Members of the European Parliament support the committee’s efforts to #LiftTheBan on crude oil exports and boost our natural gas exports.

Sorin Moisa, a Romanian member of the European Parliament, penned an op-ed featured in The Hill this week discussing the importance of freeing up America’s energy trade. He writes, “Immediately removing the oil ban and deeming LNG exports to be in the national interest in the case of allied nations would thus simply be good, sound U.S. policy. Helping create liquid competitive markets and alleviate geopolitical anxieties while benefiting your own economy.”

Earlier this year the House voted to lift the nearly 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports and the committee’s comprehensive energy bill, H.R. 8, includes language expediting the approval process for liquefied natural gas exports. The bill is expected to be on the floor the week of November 30.

November 17, 2015Central Europe’s call: Free up energy tradeBy: Sorin Moisa

As a member of the European Parliament (MEP) in both its International Trade and its Energy, Industry and Research committees, I find myself at the crossroads of all the core subjects shaping the future of our Atlantic world.  

Against that backdrop, I follow very closely the negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) going on between the U.S. and the EU since July 2013. ...

The commonsensical solution stemming from the Bucharest conference, but also from discussions with stakeholders throughout Europe, is that the U.S. should fully and immediately liberalise oil and gas exports with Europe (and possibly beyond).  

The following reasons stand out:  

(1) It would be good for its own economy: There is a wide consensus among economists that exports would benefit the US economy beyond its oil and gas sectors and, given the abundance of resources, this would have limited - if any- impact on domestic prices.

(2) It would be fair, as it would create a level playing field. The TTIP itself is inconceivable without full liberalisation of energy trade. There is no way the EU can accept to dismantle tariffs on its own energy intensive industries without full energy liberalisation, ceteris paribus.  

You cannot support free trade in general but keep out of its scope commodities with a horizontal competitive impact throughout the Atlantic economy. If following the oil shocks of the 1970s scarce energy was a core asset for American national security that needed to be carefully protected, in today's situation of energy abundance the old paradigm simply cannot be defended anymore.   

Furthermore, the U,S. has a direct long term interest in preserving its legal and moral leverage to hold other WTO members accountable for unfair restrictions on trade in energy and raw materials: it will be difficult to do that while keeping a protectionist stance on its own abundant supply.  

(3) It would be strategically wise for the United States. There is sheer beauty in the idea that the mere possibility of LNG exports can calm down monopoly prices and arrogant or aggressive political behaviour of single suppliers in still captive regions. Of course, only the market decides whether and when actual transactions take place. But for that market to exist no artificial barriers should be allowed, in any case not between such vital allies as the U.S. and Europe. We will also need additional networks, terminals and even redundant capacity: that is Europe's own homework, on which it has now seriously embarked, with the Energy Union strategy. 

(4) Europe is a strong supporter of the environment and of climate change policies, concerns about the latter being more mainstream than in the U.S. But it is simply wrong to build climate policies on an antiquated logic of resource nationalism. Free energy trade - at least among allies - should be the very baseline on which to build any environmental and climate change policies. 

(5) The U.S. would offer a very concrete signal to its Central and Eastern European allies, that it can show solidarity, without having to commit, in this case, any resources. It would be a huge political and moral dividend to be gained from a region which generally remains staunchly pro-American in these turbulent times. 

Immediately removing the oil ban and deeming LNG exports to be in the national interest in the case of allied nations would thus simply be good, sound U.S. policy. Helping create liquid and competitive markets and alleviate geopolitical anxieties while benefiting your own economy: there is no better strategic package.

To read the full piece online, click here.


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#SubOversight Examines Preparedness as Flu Season Looms


WASHINGTON, DC – Continuing its work on flu preparedness, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, chaired by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), today held a hearing entitled, “U.S. Public Health Preparedness for Seasonal Influenza: Has the Response Improved?” Testifying were officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, and the National Institutes of Health.

The hearing built off of a February 2015 hearing, where the subcommittee explored whether other actions could have been taken to mitigate the negative impacts of the mismatched vaccine. The next month, bipartisan committee leaders followed up with five top agency officials to determine how the U.S. public health response could be improved. The subcommittee today continued those efforts and examined the plans and preparedness of federal public health agencies, in addition to receiving an update about what improvements have been made since the last flu season.

“The committee’s oversight work has made a difference,” stated Chairman Murphy. “The department is now treating the seasonal flu as a higher priority. Tools and plans typically reserved for pandemic flu situations are being considered in the fight against the seasonal flu.  An HHS influenza working group has compiled 13 issues and recommendations to improve the influenza vaccine development and manufacturing process. They are working to improve surveillance, utilize technology to speed vaccine production, and make more effective vaccines. But there is still much work to be done. The issues surrounding the flu vaccine are not new – we are still largely manufacturing flu vaccines and detecting flu virus changes with technology developed during the 1940s. At the same time, more and more new influenza viruses are emerging each year… Our current system is not as responsive and effective as it should be.” 

Dr. Carole Heilman, Director of the National Institutes of Health Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, echoed the desire to improve the vaccine during her testimony. “The recent mismatch reminds us of the need for a more broadly cross-protective or ‘universal’ influence vaccine that could generate long-lasting protection against several influenza strains over multiple seasons,” she stated.

Last season’s mismatched vaccine had an overall effectiveness of only 19 percent. Although the official statistics for last flu season are not yet available, severe flu seasons typically experience 50,000 deaths, more than 400,000 hospitalizations, and an economic burden of about $87 billion. 

“Our collective efforts are about keeping Americans healthy during the flu season,” said full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “From babies who are six-months old to the elderly, and everyone in between, folks in Michigan and across the country should have the peace of mind and faith that their flu shot will keep them healthy. Our bipartisan work continues.”

For more information on today’s hearing, or to watch an archived webcast, click here.


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RIPPED FROM THE HEADLINES: The News for Obamacare Getting Worse By the Day


Upton: “UnitedHealth Group is a very large piece of the Obamacare Jenga tower…”

Recent headlines tell the story of Obamacare’s growing troubles. Collapsing CO-OPs costing taxpayers over a billion dollars. Cancer patients losing access to their doctors. Rising premiums. But it doesn’t stop there. Reports indicate many “silver plans” will be narrowing their selection of in-network providers. And just today, the country’s largest health care provider announced massive losses in the Obamacare exchanges, raising doubts about its continued participation.

"It seems the news for the president’s health law gets worse by the day, and the public is paying the price,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “UnitedHealth Group is a very large piece of the Obamacare Jenga tower – and with the many broken promises, growing rate shock, and failed CO-OPs, the law is already on shaky ground."

November 18, 2015

Rising Rates Pose Challenge to Health Law

Higher-cost premiums for 2016 threaten the appeal of the program for the healthy customers it needs

Many people signing up for 2016 health policies under the Affordable Care Act face higher premiums, fewer doctors and skimpier coverage, which threatens the appeal of the program for the healthy customers it needs.

Insurers have raised premiums steeply for the most popular plans at the same time they have boosted out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, copays and coinsurance in many of their offerings. The companies attribute the moves in part to the high cost of some customers they are gaining under the law, which doesn’t allow them to bar clients with existing health conditions.

Read the complete article here

November 18, 2015

Rising Rates Pose Challenge to Health Law

Higher-cost premiums for 2016 threaten the appeal of the program for the healthy customers it needs

Many people signing up for 2016 health policies under the Affordable Care Act face higher premiums, fewer doctors and skimpier coverage, which threatens the appeal of the program for the healthy customers it needs.

Insurers have raised premiums steeply for the most popular plans at the same time they have boosted out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, copays and coinsurance in many of their offerings. The companies attribute the moves in part to the high cost of some customers they are gaining under the law, which doesn’t allow them to bar clients with existing health conditions.

Read the complete article here

November 19, 2015

UnitedHealth Raises Doubts About Its Participation in Affordable Care Act

UnitedHealth Group Inc. said it expects major losses on its business through the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges and will consider withdrawing from them, in the most prominent signal so far of health insurers’ struggles with the health law’s marketplaces.

The disclosure by the biggest U.S. health insurer, which had just last month sounded optimistic notes about the segment’s prospects, sharply boosts worries about the sustainability of the law’s signature marketplaces, amid signs that many insurers’ losses on the business continue to mount. …

Read the complete article here.

November 19, 2015

Major insurer could leave Obamacare exchanges

UnitedHealth Group, the nation's largest health insurer, is suddenly having second thoughts about Obamacare after it reported massive losses from the law's new insurance marketplaces.

The company cut 2016 earnings projections Thursday after it reported projected losses of $275 million on plans sold through the Affordable Care Act exchanges. The insurer said it's cutting back on marketing for its exchange plans during the current enrollment period and is reevaluating its participation in the fledgling marketplaces for 2017.

Read the complete article here


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The Disrupter Series Continues with Review of Drones


WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, chaired by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), today continued its work to better understand the ways new technologies are disrupting the status quo and impacting jobs and the economy. Adding to the subcommittee’s review of the Internet of Things and the Sharing Economy, members today examined the use of drones, discussed important safety and privacy measures, and looked into ways that drones are benefiting consumers and businesses throughout the country.  

Topline Quote

“Drones promise to make life easier, safer, and less costly for workers in a wide array of

Industries,” said Burgess. “As regulators prepare to integrate drones into the airspace, it is clear that safety is the number one priority. But cutting-edge drone testing and evaluation is occurring overseas because the current process to approve commercial drone use is both restrictive and cumbersome in the U.S. I join many in the drone development space in calling for quick but flexible regulatory solutions that allow for future innovation. The speed of innovation can’t remain at the speed of regulation for long.”

Did you know?

  • That according to one study by the Association for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International drones could produce about $82 billion in growth the first ten years after they are integrated into our National Airspace System.
  • The study also predicts 100,000 jobs could be created over those ten years. For example, drone makers, software engineers, suppliers, researchers, etc.

Learn more from Chairman Burgess’ statement here.

Must Watch: 

Click here to watch the drone fly.

A Few Shots from Today’s Hearing

#SubCMT Chairman Michael C. Burgess takes a look at a drone before the hearing.

#SubCMT Chairman Burgess and members welcome witnesses and deliver opening statements

Witnesses (Left to Right) Joshua Walden, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Intel Corporation; John Villasenor, Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles; Margot Kaminski, Assistant Professor at the Ohio State University; and Brian Wayne, President and CEO at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI)

The drone and the Energy and Commerce Eagle.

A Parting Word from Chairman Upton:

“Our Disrupter Series is exploring innovative new technologies that are improving lives and growing our economy. As part of our review, we have heard the many benefits of these technologies, including job creation and better consumer services, and have also heard about some of the natural fears that come with these changes. Drones are no exception. Industry has an obligation to responsibly bring these technologies to market. I encourage those in the drone industry to make safety, cybersecurity and privacy a priority,” said Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI).


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Kevin Cramer


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Richard Hudson


Bill Johnson


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Billy Long


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