Week Ahead: Dr. Oz goes to Washington
Television celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of the “The Dr. Oz Show” will head to Capitol Hill Tuesday to testify at a Senate hearing on false and deceptive advertising for weight-loss products.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), chairwoman of the Commerce subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance, which is holding the hearing, says that companies may be pushing fake claims about their products.
The Federal Trade Commission is suing a Florida-based company, Pure Green Coffee, alleging that it falsely claimed Oz had endorsed its product. The FTC says the company published fake news websites to push unverified claims to market its product.
The following day, the full Senate Commerce committee will hold a hearing to discuss e-cigarette marketing and the potential effects on children.
E-cigarettes have come under fire from health advocates, state legislatures and Democrats who warn the products could carry serious health risks.
Lawmakers also say the industry is targeting children; the devices can now be purchased by people of any age in many states.
After pressure from lawmakers, the Food and Drug Administration announced in April it plans to regulate the products and ban sales of e-cigarettes to those under the age of 18.
For its part, the e-cigarette industry says it supports the FDA’s goal of keeping these products out of the hands of minors.
On Wednesday, the House Ways and Means Committee will discuss the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission’s June report, released June 13.
The report proposes several ways to improve Medicare payment systems, including synchronizing Medicare policy across payment models, improving risk adjustment in the program and improving quality of care measurements.
On Thursday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on the president’s new carbon pollution standards for existing power plants.
It will be the first hearing in Congress on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rules, but likely not the last: Republicans have blasted the administration for waging a “war on coal” they say will kill energy jobs and hurt the economy, and are making the issue a centerpiece of their political attacks on many vulnerable red-state Democrats.
The proposal, a crucial piece of Obama’s second-term legacy, seeks to cut carbon dioxide emissions from the nation’s fleet of existing power plants 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels.
The administration has touted the health benefits from the measure and reached out to health groups to pitch the plan.
The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee will hold a hearing Friday to talk about bonuses for senior executives at the Veterans Affairs Department.
The department has come under heavy scrutiny after allegations surfaced that VA hospitals around the country were hiding patients on secret wait lists, which may have led to their deaths due to lack of or delayed treatments.
The scandal has already led to the resignation of top VA officials, including former Secretary Eric Shinseki.
In the House, Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) has already introduced legislation to prevent senior VA officials from receiving bonuses until there is no longer a claims backlog.
Gardner, who is running for Senate in a competitive race against Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), said it would prevent officials from being rewarded while the department is not keeping up with veterans’ benefits claims.
In the Senate, the Appropriations subcommittee overseeing the VA included language in its 2015 spending bill for the department to suspend bonuses for officials until an investigation into the wait list affair is completed.
The bill also includes a $5 million increase for the VA inspector general to look into the matter.
A recent investigation found the VA handed out $108.7 million in bonuses to executives and employees in the past three years.
The House and Senate have both passed versions of a VA reform bill that gives the secretary expanded firing powers and would let some veterans get outside care. A conference bill could come forward by the end of the week.
The House Oversight Committee has scheduled a hearing Wednesday on benefits insurance companies could be reaping from the Affordable Care Act. On Friday, the committee will meet again to talk about the Obama administration’s policies on marijuana.
Off Capitol Hill, American University will hold a discussion today on the challenge to the birth control mandate brought by Hobby Lobby.
The event, titled “Hobby Lobby And Halbig: The Next Generation Of ACA [Affordable Care Act] Legal Challenges,” will take place at its law school.
Global Healthcare LLC will hold its fifth National Accountable Care Organization Summit Wednesday through Friday. Organizers say the summit “will explore issues raised by overlapping public and private accountable care initiatives, highlighting some of the most pressing considerations for providers, payers, policymakers, and supporting partners in effectively implementing accountable care.”
On Thursday, Georgetown University Law Center will hold a discussion on balancing medical care versus social needs in the context of ObamaCare. The discussion is titled “The Welfare State in Crisis: Health Spending v. Other Social Needs.”