Key House Medicare Subcommittee Will Have New Leaders; Rep. Stark Loses Election Bid
Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., often a critic of the pharmaceutical industry, lost his re-election bid, leaving the top Democratic spot open on the Ways and Means Committee’s Health Subcommittee. Subcommittee Chairman Wally Herger already planned to retire. All members of the Senate HELP and Finance Committees up for re-election won their races.
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The top posts of the House Ways and Means Committee’s Health Subcommittee will be taken over by newcomers to the panel, with Kevin Brady, R-Texas, as chairman and Jim McDermott, D-Wash., as ranking member.
Polls show Tommy Thompson, HHS secretary from 2001 to 2005, leading in the Wisconsin Senate race. His experience in health care could make him a fit for the Finance Committee or the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Few members of HELP are planning to leave at the end of the session, but a number of retirements on Finance could leave space for newcomers.
For PhRMA, supporting a move toward privatizing Medicare is a tactic that may help avoid the establishment of new price controls in the system, like the often-discussed mandated drug rebates in Part D.