Overnight Healthcare: Senate to ditch House-passed 'cures' bill

It's official: the Senate will not be working on its own version of the House's "21st Century Cures" bill.

Sen. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderMcConnell tees up medical cures bill Speculation and starting points: accreditation, a new administration and a new Congress This week: Pelosi's test MORE (R-Tenn.), who heads the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, said Tuesday that members will vote separately on bills ranging from neurological disease research to electronic medical records.

The markups will begin in February, with the third and final meeting scheduled for April.

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The Senate's strategy for passing bipartisan biomedical research legislation is a far cry from the House, where the Energy and Commerce Committee spent more than a year working on a final package. That legislation, known as 21st Century Cures, overwhelmingly passed in July, led by Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.).

Since the House bill's passage in July, the multibillion-dollar measure has failed to gain any traction in the Senate.

Alexander's plan likely means that Republicans and Democrats failed to strike compromises on funding, which has been a major sticking point.

The House bill includes more than $8 billion in new funding for researchers at agencies like the National Institutes of Health, though Democrats were also forced to swallow other pharma-friendly provisions like an overhaul of the Food and Drug Administration.

The Senate committee's bills are likely to draw controversy from at least some Republicans. They will include both President Obama's "precision medicine" initiative as well as Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenDemocrats miss warning signs, even in blue Maryland Biden to sit down with Colbert next week Feinstein urges White House to release full CIA torture report MORE's "moonshot" bid to end cancer.

HEALTHCARE SPARKS ELECTION-YEAR RIFT IN GOP: House Republicans are moving full steam ahead with work on a replacement bill for ObamaCare, an effort that Senate Republicans see as dangerous.

House Republicans feel emboldened by last year's election of Rep. Paul RyanPaul RyanRepublicans raise red flags about ObamaCare repeal strategy Overnight Healthcare: GOP in talks about helping insurers after ObamaCare repeal Ryan on Trump: 'We're not looking back' MORE (R-Wis.) as Speaker to pursue ambitious goals, with none bigger than presenting a conservative alternative to President Obama's signature healthcare law.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellLawmakers eye early exit from Washington Confirm Scott Palk for the Western District of Oklahoma Overnight Healthcare: GOP in talks about helping insurers after ObamaCare repeal MORE (Ky.), however, wants 2016 to be a referendum on Obama's record. He prefers sticking to the basic blocking and tackling of government: passing the annual appropriations bills.

Putting out a broad healthcare reform bill before the election could backfire by giving Democrats a big target to attack. With at least five Senate GOP incumbents facing tough reelection races, Senate leaders argue there's no point in moving a bill that Obama is sure to veto. Read more here: http://bit.ly/1P3YhnU

SCOTUS WON'T HEAR NEW OBAMACARE CASE: The justices may have decided to hear a major challenge on Obama's immigration policies on Tuesday, but they're leaving ObamaCare alone.

The lawsuit, which was viewed as a long shot, claimed the law has violated the Constitution's "Origination Clause," which says that bills that raise revenue have to originate in the House.

The conservatives who filed the suit argued that ObamaCare's individual mandate counts as a revenue-raising measure, because it brings in money from people paying fines but that the bill had effectively originated in the Senate, not the House.  Read more here: http://bit.ly/1Jgt4gM

BIDEN: WORLD IS AT 'INFLECTION POINT' AGAINST CANCER: Vice President Joe Biden delivered an impassioned speech at the World Economic Forum on Tuesday, declaring that the world is "at an inflection point" in the fight against cancer.  

"Just in the past few years we've seen some major advances in technology and science," Biden said, sitting alongside one of the country's most respected medical leaders – Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Reflecting on the time since his eldest son died of brain cancer, Biden said he was "absolutely dumbfounded" by the reaction to his own pledge to help fight cancer. "I literally heard from thousands of people." Watch the video replay here: http://bit.ly/1OEjwZF.

IS REPLACING OBAMACARE LIKE MAKING MEDICARE PART D? The Conservative Reform Network, a group run by former aides to House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric CantorChamber of Commerce overhauls lobbying operation Laura Ingraham under consideration for White House press secretary VA Dems jockey for Kaine's seat MORE (R-Va.), thinks so.

In a report released Tuesday, the group argues that Republicans can make the case to replace ObamaCare by citing their successes in creating and rolling out the Medicare Part D program under the Bush administration. Read the report here:

PERSONNEL MOVES:

Rodger Currie, formerly the chief lobbyist at the American Psychiatric Association, is returning to PhRMA to become executive vice president for advocacy. Currie began his D.C. health career as the majority health counsel to the then-GOP controlled House Energy & Commerce Committee.

TOMORROW'S SCHEDULE:

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee holds a hearing on mental health at 10 a.m.

The mayor of Flint, Mich., will participate in a press briefing in Washington at 11:15 a.m.

Virginia hospitals will hold their first-annual lobby day in the state capital, Richmond.

WHAT WE'RE READING:

Senate punts on House-passed medical bill (Morning Consult)

Michelle ObamaMichelle ObamaWhite House: Obama has 'no plans' for media career after leaving office Obamas light their final White House Christmas tree Tom Ford declined to dress Melania Trump 'years ago' MORE's school lunch legacy survives Republican assault (Bloomberg Politics)

FDA clears redesigned scopes in 'superbug' saga (Law 360)

Bernie SandersBernie SandersDean drops out of DNC chairmanship race Sanders vs. Trump: The battle of the bully pulpit Trump’s Treasury pick leaves Sears board: report MORE's single-payer plan isn't a plan (Vox)

IN THE STATES:

Appalachia tests ObamaCare's evolution (Courier Journal)

Alabama: More test positive for tuberculosis (NY Times)

ICYMI FROM THE HILL:

HHS to head federal response to Flint water crisis http://bit.ly/1Qmt2W2

Major insurer lost $720M on ObamaCare exchanges http://bit.ly/1P45HHN

Cornyn pushes Obama on mental health bill http://bit.ly/1nwRqZL

 

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