U.S. House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), the third highest-ranking House Republican, has issued a news release and tweeted about signing on as a sponsor of bipartisan legislation prohibiting pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and other third-party payers from paying 340B providers below-market rates or engaging in other perceived discriminatory contracting practices.
Stefanik has garnered strong support from the conservative base for her outspoken defense of President Trump during his two impeachment trials. The upstate New York lawmaker was selected as conference chair in May by the House Republican caucus to replace Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wy.) who was ousted from her leadership position for strongly objecting to the GOP claims of a rigged Presidential election as well as her desire to look into the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection. Stefanik’s loud-and-proud sponsorship of the PROTECT 340B Act, H.R. 4390, stands in sharp contrast to conservative firebrand Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s (R-N.C.) negative reactions in late July to his being listed as a sponsor. He withdrew his sponsorship on July 30.
In addition to protecting 340B covered entities from “pickpocketing,” H.R. 4390 also calls for a new independent national drug claims clearinghouse to ensure that states do not get duplicate Medicaid rebates on 340B-purchased drugs. Reps. David McKinley (R-W.Va.) and Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) introduced the bill in early July. Including McKinley and Spanberger, it has 41 sponsors—26 Democrats and 15 Republicans.
Youngest Women Ever Elected to House
Stefanik was elected in 2014 at the age of 30 becoming the youngest women ever elected to the House. The Harvard graduate has an established track record of support for 340B covered entities. In 2017, she cosponsored legislation and wrote to then Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma opposing federal regulations imposing a nearly 30% reduction in Medicare payments to hospitals for 340B-purchased physician-administered drugs. In May 2020, she co-signed a letter with other members of her state’s congressional delegation urging then Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar to hold hospitals harmless from losing their 340B eligibility during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The 340B Program is essential to providing access to healthcare for rural communities” in New York’s North Country region, Stefanik tweeted on Sept. 16. “I’m proud to continue to advocate for it!” She said basically the same in her news release the same day.