Committee on Energy and Commerce

Fred Upton

The Dog Days of Summer

2016/08/29

House Energy and Commerce Committee members recognized “National Dog Day” last Friday by sharing pictures with their loyal canine friends. Whether a family pet or service animal, there’s no question that dogs really are “Members’ best friend.” Here are some of our favorite Congressional companions from around the committee. [[{"fid":"1424","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"346","width":"329","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) with his office’s star, Bugsy. [[{"fid":"1425","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"411","width":"361","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Rep. Michael C. Burgess' (R-TX) dog, Sammie, avoids the Texas heat back home. [[{"fid":"1426","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"501","width":"309","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) has a pooch named Scout. She’s regularly sports the red, white, and blue. [[{"fid":"1427","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"327","width":"436","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) and his beloved Golden Retriever, Riley. [[{"fid":"1428","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"405","width":"311","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) with Axel, who serves with the Evansville Police K-9 Unit. [[{"fid":"1429","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"260","width":"351","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) at the wheel with Maddie. [[{"fid":"1430","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"386","width":"362","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Rep. Susan Brooks’ (R-IN) Scout takes the plunge. Read More

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING: A #BetterWay for Health Care

2016/08/29

On June 22, 2016, House Republicans released the health care plank of the A Better Way: Our Vision for a Confident America series. The House GOP health care plan would replace Obamacare and reform the nation’s health system to ensure that all patients have access to quality, affordable health care. Here’s a snapshot of what thought leaders are saying: National Review Editorial Board: A Better Way on Health Care “The Obamacare exchanges and their maze of rules and mandates would be replaced by something more closely resembling a true consumer market, though insurance will remain heavily regulated at the state level while the major federal entitlements and their payment rules act in effect as a form of federal regulation.” Joseph R. Antos & James Capretta, Health Affairs Blog: The House Republicans’ Health Plan “…it’s an ambitious plan, and represents a real milestone. … If Congress were to take up legislation in 2017 to roll back the ACA and replace it with something different, the starting point for drafting the legislation would be this plan.” Avik Roy: A Detailed Look At House Republicans' First Official Plan To Replace Obamacare And Reform Health Care “Notably, the Ryan plan is not merely a replacement for Obamacare, but instead strives to be a comprehensive overhaul of the health care system. Good, because so many parts of government health care need improvement.” Scott Gottlieb: Paul Ryan’s Healthcare Plan Challenges a Central Tenet of Obamacare “The… Plan envisions universal access to health insurance. Nobody would be priced out of coverage.” Karl Rove: House Republicans Have a Better Idea “…the House GOP also released a detailed proposal to replace ObamaCare with a package of reforms centered on the patient and doctor. These include making health insurance portable so workers can take it from job to job, increasing the use of health savings accounts, permitting insurance sales across state lines, allowing small businesses and individuals to band together to get lower prices, expanding wellness programs and reforming medical liability.” Brian Blase: House Republicans Propose Real, Though Incomplete, Medicaid Reform “The task force proposal allows states the choice of a block grant or a per capita allotment and changes federal rules to allow states greater freedom to reform their programs. ... (T)he Medicaid component of the health care blueprint shows signs that serious legislation could emerge that would be a vast improvement from the status quo.” Click HERE for a recent non-partisan analysis that showed House Republicans have a #BetterWay on reforming our health care system. Read More

E&C Leaders Urge EPA and NHTSA to Extend Comment Period On 1,000+ Page Draft Report On Light-Duty Vehicle Emissions

2016/08/29

WASHINGTON, DC – Continuing to stand up for the public’s interest, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY), and Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) today sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Administrator Mark Rosekind to extend an ongoing comment period. “We write regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recently released Draft Technical Assessment Report: Midterm Evaluation of Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards and Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards for Model Years 2022-2025. … The Agencies have provided a public comment period on the Draft TAR from July 15, 2016 to September 26, 2016. We assert that the current comment period does not provide necessary time for adequate public review,” said Upton, Whitfield, and Burgess. The leaders continued, “The Draft TAR exceeds 1,000 pages in length, contains extensive technical information, and references a large number of supporting documents. Furthermore, a portion of the referenced supporting documents were not available at the beginning of the public comment period. … We believe the Agencies should provide a full 60-day extension for comment on the Draft TAR, allowing the public to comment until November 26, 2016.” To read the letter online, click here. ###  Read More

Letter to EPA Administrator McCarthy and NHTSA Administrator Rosekind

2016/08/29

Excerpt: “We write regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recently released Draft Technical Assessment Report: Midterm Evaluation of Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emission Standards and Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards for Model Years 2022-2025. … The Agencies have provided a public comment period on the Draft TAR from July 15, 2016 to September 26, 2016. We assert that the current comment period does not provide necessary time for adequate public review."  To read the letter, click here. Read More

As EpiPen Costs Soar, E&C Leaders Press FDA for Answers on Agency’s Regulatory Process for Generic Drugs

2016/08/29

WASHINGTON, DC – Following concerns about soaring out-of-pocket costs for EpiPens, Energy and Commerce Committee leaders today sent a letter to FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf regarding generic drugs at FDA and ensuring we have a competitive prescription drug market. The letter identifies a series of questions focused on the issues involved in bringing competitors to the EpiPen onto the market. The letter was sent by full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Health Subcommittee Chairman Joseph Pitts (R-PA), and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA). “In 2012, the Energy and Commerce Committee led the effort to pass the first generic drug user fee authorization (GDUFA) program,” wrote Upton, Pitts, and Murphy. “The goal of the legislation was to expedite the review of abbreviated new drug applications (ANDAs) and clear the backlog of applications at the agency. Improving the generic drug review process will promote competition and ultimately lower the cost of prescription drugs for America’s patients.” “We are concerned about the lack of generic competition in the epinephrine auto-injector market,” continued the leaders, posing a series of questions about how FDA’s policies can inhibit competition in the generic drug market. Last week, committee leaders raised concerns about the soaring costs of life-saving EpiPens. “EpiPens are a critical and often only option for saving kids from the brink of death during severe allergic reactions. And the soaring costs that patients are now facing for Epi-Pen Auto-Injectors is cause for alarm,” said Upton. Click HERE to read a copy of the letter. ### Read More

Letter to FDA Regarding Agency's Regulatory Process for Generic Drugs

2016/08/29

Excerpt: “In 2012, the Energy and Commerce Committee lead the effort to pass the first generic drug user fee authorization (GDUFA) program. The goal of the legislation was to expedite the review of abbreviated new drug applications (ANDAs) and clear the backlog of applications at the agency. Improving the generic drug review process will promote competition and ultimately lower the cost of prescription drugs for America’s patients.” To read a copy of the letter, click here. Read More

Dallas-Fort Worth Home Depot Dads to Family of Child with Rare Disease: “You can do it, we can help.”

2016/08/27

[[{"fid":"1419","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"180","width":"207","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Silus Johnson’s grandfather took a trip to Home Depot earlier this week with the hopes of finding the materials necessary to build a custom walker. 2 1/2-year-old Silus has Norrie disease, a rare disease caused by mutations of the NDP gene. Silus is blind and has low muscle tone, and store bought walkers didn’t fit his frame. When the Home Depot employees heard the story behind the shopping trip, they were eager to help.  "I have a 2-year-old of my own and so does Chris,” Eric Bindel, the store’s tool rental supervisor, told FOX 4. “I just dove right into it and said just drop it right there, give us his dimensions and we'll get everything going for you and just build it for you free." [[{"fid":"1420","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"180","width":"346","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Watch the inspiring video HERE The “Home Depot dads” gathered some one-inch PVC, four-inch casters, foam, rope, and reflective tape, and after two days which included working on a day off, the custom walker was complete. The result was a resounding success as Silus is now mobile. And the best part - the innovative walker is also adjustable, so it will grow as Silus grows. "As soon as we put him in there, it was just really cool. He started feeling around on it. You could tell he was happy. He was excited basically. He started laughing and then started using his little feet to push himself backwards. I had a big smile. Everybody had a big smile, maybe a couple little tears here and there," said Bendel. The Home Depot in North Richland Hills, Texas, is just the latest inspiring stop on the #Path2Cures. Learn more about the effort to deliver #CuresNow HERE. [[{"fid":"1421","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"63","width":"231","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Home Depot employees build custom walker for 2-year-old A 2-year-old North Texas boy with a disease that makes walking a challenge has a free brand-new, custom-made walker thanks to the generosity of some Home Depot employees. Workers at the Home Depot in North Richland Hills are used to helping people pick out tools and supplies for their home projects. But in the case of 2-year-old Silus Johnson, three employees told the boy’s family they would take the project from there. Assistant Manager Matthew Spencer said he walked up to a customer to ask if he needed any help. He was talking to Silus’ grandfather who was working on building a special walker for his grandson. When Spencer learned that Silus had Norrie Disease, leaving him blind and with low muscle tone, the idea to help popped up. Since regular walkers were just too small for the 2-year-old, Spencer quickly brought in tool rental supervisor Eric Bindel. "I have a 2-year-old of my own and so does Chris,” said Bindel. “I just dove right into it and said just drop it right there, give us his dimensions and we'll get everything going for you and build it for free" And the genius behind it was tool technician Chris Wright, who started with some 1-inch PVC and ran with it. “I used the foam around the edges to make it soft, rope to secure the seat,” Wright explained. “Reflective tape on it to kind of help it stand out if they're out in public or something so that way you can see him." After two days and working on his day off, Wright and other Home Depot dads, fueled by their overwhelming desire to help Silus, crafted his walker. “We need to recognize these gentlemen who put their heart and hard work into making this for my son. They don't even know us,” said Silus’ mom, Jessica Johnson. "It was just really nice to know that I did this for this child, and he liked it a lot,” said Wright. And then came the moment when Silus got to take it for a spin. "As soon as we put him in there, it was just really cool. He started feeling around on it. You could tell he was happy. He was excited,” said Bindel. “He started laughing and then started using his little feet to push himself backwards. I had a big smile. Everybody had a big smile, maybe a couple little tears here and there" For Jessica Johnson, the challenges of a special needs child can sometimes be overwhelming until something like this happens. "I've prayed for them that God could bless their families because they've definitely blessed ours,” said Johnson. The walker has metal broom handle prices on all four corners that extend. So as Silus grows, the walker can grow with him. Read the story online HERE. ###   Read More

COMBATING ZIKA: Upton Spearheads Bipartisan E&C Member Update With Top Government Health Officials

2016/08/26

WASHINGTON, DC – On Wednesday afternoon, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) led bipartisan committee members in a conference call with top government health officials to discuss the ongoing Zika threat. The officials provided an update regarding efforts currently being taken and the members had an opportunity to have pressing questions answered regarding the federal response to the virus. Participants on the call included: Dr. Tom Frieden, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Nicole Lurie, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, HHS Dr. Luciana Borio, Acting Chief Scientist, U.S. Food and Drug Administration Ms. Ellen Murray, Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources, HHS “When Congress returns next month, we need to have bipartisan support to ensure that the resources are there to find a vaccine and take other necessary measures to confront the spread of Zika. There’s no time for politics, this issue impacts all of us," said Chairman Upton. "In the meantime, the committee will continue to fulfill its important role in evaluating the federal public health response.” “Zika continues to pose a significant threat in my home state, and across the country. It is crucial we do all we can to address this virus,” said Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL). “Earlier this week, following reports of a confirmed case in Pinellas County, I discussed this issue with Governor Scott. Yesterday’s briefing provided us with valuable insight on ways we may continue to work together to combat Zika. My colleagues and I are working at all levels and with all stakeholders to stay ahead of a potential outbreak. We will continue to do all we can to keep our communities safe." ### Read More

“Together we are powerful. Please join me.” - #Path2Cures Guides One Rare Disease Patient Toward Advocacy

2016/08/26

[[{"fid":"1416","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"407","width":"415","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Sharon Rose is one of many patient advocates that has updated their Twitter profile to reflect their goal – seeing 21st Century Cures become law. Sharon Rose has been seeking treatments for the last six years for four rare diseases. It wasn’t until recently that she decided to become a patient advocate. Sharon shares her story in The Mighty, explaining her new interest in legislation and the work Congress does to spur treatment options. “I was in a new arena and out of my comfort zone,” Sharon wrote. “However, I realized that in order to advocate for my care, it was a necessary step, and I was finding it interesting!” But the biggest step for Sharon was meeting with her representatives in Congress. “The idea of walking into a government office makes me so nervous, but so does a future without proper health care for the conditions I face daily,” Sharon wrote. Advocacy is an important tool in the effort to deliver change, and it’s been a key component of the effort to deliver #CuresNow. Every patient story makes a difference. It’s like Sharon says, “Together we are powerful. Please join me.” [[{"fid":"1418","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"188","width":"645","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Why I’m Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone and Into My Congressman’s Office for Rare Disease Rare disease has changed my life in many ways, but the most unexpected recent change has been my interest in laws and political issues regarding health care and treatment options. You see, I am a right brainer. I enjoy and flourish in the arts. I’ve never jumped for joy while taking a math or science class. I can recall looking up medical terminology after diagnoses and subsequent MRI or test reports years ago, and how strange it was for me to learn about medicine. I was in a new arena and out of my comfort zone. However, I realized that in order to advocate for my care, it was a necessary step, and I was finding it interesting! I was being forced to expand in ways I had never imagined. Being creative had always been my focus whether in study, or for fun. But more recently, as a patient and advocate, I’ve experienced another surprising shift in interests. Why, you ask?  Because for the past 6+ years, I’ve been relentlessly and urgently seeking treatments as a patient for Klippel-Feil syndrome, cervical dystonia, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and vasculitis – all rare diseases. Time and time again, I have found little understanding or relief. I’ve traveled to five states seeking care. Yes, there are a few great doctors out there. Great doctors who have limited time, limited accurate information, and limited treatment and medication options to offer me as a patient dealing with such an odd laundry list of rare conditions. I’ve been at a personal stand-still regarding my care for well over a year. After putting down the paint brushes to focus on MRI reports and the like, I have come to a dead end regarding what might help the chronic, debilitating pain and muscle spasms that send a constant 911 signal throughout my body. I know I am not alone in this. Care options for those with rare conditions are extremely limited. Complaining about it and doing nothing will get us nowhere. However, for myself and others in the rare disease community and beyond, there is something we can do to help ourselves! You see, there is a bill, the 21st Century Cures Act H.R. 6,  that is critical for the improvement of care for Americans as a whole, but namely for rare disease patients who are desperately in need of this. In July 2015, the bill passed the House. This fall, when summer recess ends, we need the Senate to pass this bill for it to move forward. This bill needs to be implemented and we are running out of time! I’ve been preparing to meet with my legislators personally, to urge them to help pass this bill now. Gulp. I’m completely out of my comfort zone! The idea of walking into a government office makes me so nervous, but so does a future without proper health care for the conditions I face daily. … Of the 7,000 rare diseases that affect 30 million Americans, only 5 percent of rare diseases have an FDA approved treatment. The 21st Century Cures Act has been developed to help us, but it needs our support now. If I can, you can! Not to mention, new treatment options would allow me to feel well enough to get back to other passions. Together we are powerful. Please join me. Read the article online HERE. ### Read More

NONPARTISAN ANALYSIS: House GOP Better Way Health Care Plan Offers Patients Better Path

2016/08/25

The non-partisan Center for Health and the Economy (H&E) recently released an analysis confirming that the House Republicans’ Better Way plan to reform the nation’s health care system will lower premiums, increase access to doctors and providers, and lead to greater medical productivity. Specifically, H&E determined that the patient-centered solutions put forth by the House GOP will amount to 1 million more individuals having health insurance in 2018. Premiums will see sizeable drops from where they are today – ranging from 10 to 35 percent. Medical productivity will be boosted by approximately 7 percent, and access to providers will increase by approximately 4 percent. Additionally, the plan offered by House Republicans will lower the federal deficit by $481 billion between 2017 and 2026. The findings come as no surprise as the plan is focused on four key efforts to expand access to quality, affordable health care: More choices and lower costs when it comes to picking your health care plan; Real protections to ensure Americans don’t get turned away regardless of age, income, medical conditions, or circumstances; Cutting-edge cures and treatments fostered by the elimination of red tape to accelerate the development of life-saving devices and therapies; and A stronger Medicare for today’s seniors and future generations. As Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) said at the time the Better Way plan for health care was unveiled, “We have a better way for health care that puts patients first, improves quality of care, lowers health care costs, and restores freedom and flexibility. We want to lead the world in cures and treatments, and our plan builds upon the important work of 21st Century Cures to help deliver cures now. Everyone in Michigan and across America deserves access to quality, affordable healthcare.” Click HERE to learn more about our solutions that will bring real quality, affordable health coverage. ### Read More

Contact Information

2125 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-2927
Fax 202-225-1919
energycommerce.house.gov


Membership

Joe Barton

TEXAS' 6th DISTRICT

Gus Bilirakis

FLORIDA's 12th DISTRICT

Marsha Blackburn

TENNESSEE's 7th DISTRICT

Susan Brooks

INDIANA's 5th DISTRICT

Larry Bucshon

INDIANA's 8th DISTRICT

Michael Burgess

TEXAS' 26th DISTRICT

Chris Collins

NEW YORK's 27th DISTRICT

Kevin Cramer

NORTH DAKOTA

Renee Ellmers

NORTH CAROLINA's 2nd DISTRICT

Bill Flores

TEXAS' 17th DISTRICT

Morgan Griffith

VIRGINIA's 9th DISTRICT

Brett Guthrie

KENTUCKY's 2nd DISTRICT

Gregg Harper

MISSISSIPPI's 3rd DISTRICT

Richard Hudson

NORTH CAROLINA's 8th DISTRICT

Bill Johnson

OHIO's 6th DISTRICT

Adam Kinzinger

ILLINOIS' 16th DISTRICT

Leonard Lance

NEW JERSEY's 7th DISTRICT

Bob Latta

OHIO's 5th DISTRICT

Billy Long

MISSOURI's 7th DISTRICT

David McKinley

WEST VIRGINIA's 1st DISTRICT

Cathy McMorris Rodgers

WASHINGTON's 5th DISTRICT

Markwayne Mullin

OKLAHOMA's 2nd DISTRICT

Tim Murphy

PENNSYLVANIA's 18th DISTRICT

Pete Olson

TEXAS' 22nd DISTRICT

Joe Pitts

PENNSYLVANIA's 16th DISTRICT

Mike Pompeo

KANSAS' 4th DISTRICT

Steve Scalise

LOUISIANA's 1st DISTRICT

John Shimkus

ILLINOIS' 15th DISTRICT

Fred Upton

MICHIGAN's 6th DISTRICT

Greg Walden

OREGON's 2nd DISTRICT

Ed Whitfield

KENTUCKY's 1st DISTRICT

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