Energy and Commerce to focus on FDA, grandfathering

The House Energy and Commerce Committee's Health panel will spend the fall focused on healthcare reform regulations and preparing for a major Food and Drug Administration bill.

Energy and Commerce released its fall agenda Tuesday. The Health subcommittee's agenda is mostly focused around the FDA — specifically, getting new products to market more quickly. The committee has already begun holding hearings on the policy changes that could accompany a must-pass FDA reauthorization bill next year.

"The. U.S. traditionally has been the leader in the medical device industry employing an estimated 420,000 Americans, but the lack of predictability and consistency at FDA currently force research and development, manufacturing and new product approvals to Europe, costing American jobs and limiting U.S. patients’ access to revolutionary new devices," the committee's agenda states.

It also says lawmakers will focus on "grandfathering" rules under healthcare reform. The law exempts existing plans from some of the law's mandates and limits the types of changes that can be made without sacrificing that exemption. The Obama administration itself has said that most plans will likely lose their grandfathered status, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) recently said the rules would be a main target of Republicans' continued opposition to the new law.