Each year there is an influx of healthcare law proposals at the Whitehouse, and the Covid-19 pandemic has placed healthcare legislation under the spotlight. Though pending bills for 2021 and 2022 do include potential Covid-19 laws, there are currently other important bills under consideration as well. A bill* is a draft of a proposed law that gets presented to the president of the United States after being approved in identical form by both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Once signed by the president, the bill becomes law. Listed below are five prominent healthcare bills that are presently pending approval.
*Note that bill numbers restart every two years, so there are previous bills for different laws that may fall under the same number as the bills below.
H.R. 2829 – Drug Pricing
The first bill on the list, titled as, “End Price Gouging for Medications Act,” resonates well with MotivHealth. Due to rapid increases in drug pricing over the last few years, this law would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish reference prices for prescription drugs, allowing consumers to compare options before choosing which drug to purchase (similar to what MotivHealth’s MotivRx and SmartPay programs already do). This price transparency would result in competition between drug manufacturers that would hopefully lower drug costs overall. This bill also proposes an end to the practice of prominent drug companies paying generic drug manufacturers to keep their lower-priced versions off the market. If pharmacy shelves are filled with generic drugs, then drug expenses will be lowered significantly.
H.R. 4387 – Maternal Health
The bill known as, “Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act of 2021,” tugs on the heart strings a little more than the others, as it aims to reduce the number of pregnancy and childbirth-related deaths in the U.S. There are an estimated 700 pregnancy-related deaths per year in our nation, and 60% of these are preventable. This bill would implement evidence-based best practices and policies within the medical community to improve maternal health outcomes. It would also call for health professional training programs to ensure that no mothers are discriminated against for any reason. Lastly, the bill proposes that funding be provided to establish rural obstetric networks to reduce maternal death rates in rural areas. (Maternal death rates tend to be higher in rural areas than in urban and suburban locations.)
H.R. 2754 – Long COVID-19 Research
Some victims of COVID-19 are still experiencing long-term symptoms even months after testing negative. The bill titled, “COVID-19 Long Haulers Act,” proposes funding for research on “Long COVID” symptoms. It is hoped that extended research on the disease will lead to the discovery of Long COVID causes as well as treatment. Additionally, this bill aims to further educate both the public and healthcare providers about long-term COVID physical effects so that sufferers of Long COVID can be more widely understood and accepted.
H.R. 3655 – COVID Vaccine Injury Compensation
In 1988, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services set up the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) to compensate people injured by childhood vaccines. The bill officially titled, “Vaccine Injury Compensation Modernization Act of 2021,” proposes adding the COVID-19 vaccine to this list. The bill’s presenters feel that those who aim to protect their families and communities by getting vaccinated deserve a safety net in the case of adverse effects that result from the vaccine. Though COVID-19 vaccination complications are relatively rare, this bill aims to ensure more peace of mind among U.S. citizens.
H.R. 365 – Mental Health
The last bill on this list is simple. Its proposal lies in its title: “Expressing Support for the Designation of May 2021 as ‘Mental Health Awareness Month.’” Though May has already passed in 2021, it proposes that the month of May is officially named “National Mental Health Awareness Month” and declares mental health a national priority. It is no secret that mental health seems to be on the decline. This bill aims to increase mental health awareness and remove the stigma surrounding mental illness. Reducing stigma would hopefully cause more people to seek treatment for mental health, leading to a happier and healthier nation overall. Access mental health resources here.
This list provides a quick overview of a few key bills, but there are many intricacies to healthcare legislature and these bills are in various stages of progress. To learn more about what it takes for a bill to become law, read about additional bills, or view the current progress of the bills listed above, check out the sources linked below.