KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Prescription Drug ‘Track And Trace’ Bill Splits House Lawmakers

House lawmakers are split on how the federal government should better track prescription drugs with one powerful Republican promising a "track and trace" law by August while Democrats press for stronger safeguards in the proposal.

The Hill: GOP Chairman Promises Drug-Tracking Law By August
A powerful House chairman vowed Thursday to put legislation on President Obama's desk that would give regulators more power to track prescription drugs…Lawmakers on Thursday examined a draft bill from Reps. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) and Jim Matheson (D-Utah) that attempts to address loopholes in the drug supply system and give regulators tools to close them (Wilson, 4/25).

CQ HealthBeat: Democrats Voice Concerns About Bill To Change Drug Supply Oversight
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton said at a hearing Thursday that he would like to mark up a "track and trace" bill to improve the security of the nation's drug supply in May, but several Democrats want the bill to have stronger safeguards (Adams, 4/25).

Modern Healthcare: Lawmakers Urge National Drug-Tracking System
House lawmakers pressed a Food and Drug Administration official on the need for a federal "track-and-trace" system that would boost the security of the pharmaceutical supply chain in the U.S. at a time when counterfeit or substandard drugs are increasingly of concern. States, for the most part, regulate the drug supply chains in their regions, with some requiring paper or electronic transaction histories of drugs, which are called pedigrees (Lee, 4/25).

In other news, a new bill would provide abortion coverage for Peace Corps volunteers who are raped --

The Washington Post: Women's Health Groups Want Peace Corps Volunteers To Have Insurance Coverage For Abortions
If a Peace Corps volunteer is raped and becomes pregnant as a result, she has to pay for an abortion herself, because the federal government refuses to cover the cost. Yet women on the paid Peace Corps staff, along with other federal employees, federal prisoners, women on Medicaid and Native Americans, have long received insurance coverage for abortions in cases of rape or incest or if their health is in danger. In January, women in the military got the same access (Rein, 4/25).

Kaiser Health News: Bid To Cover Abortion After Rape For Peace Corps Volunteers
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) introduced a bill Thursday that would provide health insurance coverage for abortions to Peace Corps volunteers in the case of rape or incest (Rao, 4/25).

Also, fallout from a GOP split on a now-dead plan to extend coverage for people with pre-existing conditions continues --

Politico: Ted Cruz Aide On Health Law Fix: 'We Oppose Obamacare'
Members of Sen. Ted Cruz's staff wrote highly critical emails saying House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s support of a bill that would have shored up a piece of Obamacare strayed unacceptably from the GOP repeal message. In an unusual public display of an intraparty dispute, the emails were made available to Buzzfeed (Smith, 4/25).

And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says Democratic political race losses over the health law were worth it --

The Hill: Pelosi: Health Care Reform Was Worth Any Dem Defeats
Passage of health care reform was worth any defeat the Democrats might have suffered at the polls as a result, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday. Democrats passed President Obama's signature health care law in early 2010 and were walloped in the midterm elections roughly eight months later (Lillis, 4/25).

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