Health care is such a massive topic that it takes more than one Congressional committee to handle all the health-related legislation. It’s important to know which committee a bill will be referred to for any advocacy work! Speaking with committee members should be a priority.
Once a bill is introduced in the House or the Senate, it is referred to the committee with jurisdiction over the topic or program addressed in the bill. Committees then refer it to the appropriate subcommittee and conduct an evaluation of the proposed legislation. Let’s take a look at what is under the jurisdiction of the major health care committees on both sides of Capitol Hill.
- Senate Finance Committee (Subcommittee on Health) handles Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), other health and human services programs financed by specific tax or trust fund;
- Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions (HELP) oversees agencies, institutes, and programs of HHS, including the FDA, CDC, NIH, Administration on Aging, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; public health and health insurance statutes to address changes in the industry;
- Senate Special Committee on Aging has no legislative authority but studies issues related to older Americans, including Medicare
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
- House Ways & Means Committee (Subcommittee on Health) handles some of Medicare;
- House Energy & Commerce Committee (Subcommittee on Health) oversees Medicare, Medicaid, mental health, substance abuse, biomedical research and development, food/drug/device/cosmetic safety, clean air and safe drinking water
The House & Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees handle insurance coverage for veterans, veterans’ hospitals, medical care and treatment of veterans
The House & Senate Appropriations Committees allocate funds to government agencies, departments, and organizations.
As of December 16, 2019, nearly 9,900 bills have been introduced in this Congressional session. Only 78 (1%) have been enacted into law.
Image from the NYT.