Markey Blocking Vote On FDA Nominee Until Agency Addresses Opioid Concerns
Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., the second lawmaker to place a hold on the nomination, says, “The FDA needs to commit to shift the way it approaches and evaluates addiction before I can support Dr. Califf’s nomination.” Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, Republicans are likely to use a new Congressional Budget Office analysis of booming health care costs to propose deep funding cuts. Also, lawmakers reschedule their hearing on drug prices.
Reuters: Senator Markey Places Hold On Obama’s Nominee To Lead FDA Democratic U.S. Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts said on Monday he placed a hold on President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Food and Drug Administration until the agency agrees to reform its process for approving opioid painkillers. Markey wants opioid-approval matters to be reviewed by an FDA advisory committee and believes the committee should consider the risk of addiction and abuse during the approval process. He also wants the agency to rescind approval of OxyContin for children and convene an advisory panel to guide that process. (Clarke and Berkrot, 1/25)
The Washington Post: Another Senator Holds Up FDA Nominee, This Time Over Opioid Crisis Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) said Monday that he has placed a hold on the confirmation of former Duke University researcher and cardiologist Robert Califf, President Obama’s nominee to head the FDA, until the agency agrees to several measures related to the use of opioid painkillers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. “Expert after expert has warned about the real world dangers of abuse of and dependence on these new supercharged opioid painkillers, but the FDA has willfully blinded itself to the warning signs,” Markey said in a statement Monday. (Dennis, 1/25)
The Washington Post: Booming Health Care Costs And Growing Deficits Create Budget Headache For Republicans Congressional Republicans have promised to include deep spending cuts in their upcoming budget proposals and new data showing rising federal health care costs and a looming deficit increase will likely add to conservatives hunger for big funding reductions. Federal health care costs are expected to jump to $936 billion in 2016, outpacing the $882 billion projected spending on Social Security, according to a report released Monday by the Congressional Budget Office. (Snell, 1/25)
The Hill: Federal Healthcare Spending Tops Social Security For The First Time The government spent $936 billion last year on health programs including Medicare, Medicaid and subsidies related to the Affordable Care Act, a jump of 13 percent from 2014, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Spending on Social Security, in contrast, totaled $882 billion, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported. The swelling cost of health programs is likely to ignite an election-year debate on the right over ObamaCare and its impact on the budget. (Ferris, 1/25)
Modern Healthcare: Medicaid Expansion, Exchanges Push Healthcare Spending Past Social Security In 2015, the U.S. federal government spent more on healthcare than on Social Security for the first time. The Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid and the growing availability of subsidies for exchange plans are driving much of the higher spending. (Herman, 1/25)
The Associated Press: Lawmakers Reschedule Hearing To Question Martin Shkreli House lawmakers have rescheduled a hearing to question former pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli, reviled for hiking the price of a lifesaving drug, due to the weekend blizzard that has paralyzed travel on the East Coast. Staffers for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform said the hearing, which had been set for Tuesday, will take place Thursday Feb. 4 instead. (Perrone, 1/25)
Meanwhile, Kaiser Health News takes a look at the recent Senate investigation on dirty scopes —
Kaiser Health News: A Closer Look At The Senate’s Investigation Of Tainted Medical Scopes A Senate investigation recently found that 16 hospitals around the U.S. failed to file mandatory paperwork with the federal government after patients at their hospitals became infected or died from the use of tainted medical scopes. Kaiser Health News’ Chad Terhune spoke with Madeline Brand on KCRW’s Press Play about the investigation and steps the scope maker is taking to stop the infections. (Terhune, 1/25)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations.