December 9, 2019

Senate Finance Committee Leaders Release Revised Drug Pricing Bill with Support for PCORI

On Friday, December 6, Senate Finance Committee leaders Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) announced the release of the ‘‘Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction and Health and Human Services Improvements Act’’ that is a revised version of their drug pricing bill, as well as extension of a variety of health provisions and programs including PCORI. The bill text can be found here.

Changes to PCORI’s statute include:

  • Extension of the authorization to 2029 (i.e., 10 years more)
  • Extension of the funding from PCOR fees
  • Increased mandatory appropriations to offset elimination of the transfers from the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund
  • Addition of intellectual and developmental disabilities as a research priority
  • Consideration of the “full range of outcomes data” to include the “potential burdens and economic impacts of the utilization of medical treatments, items, and services on different stakeholders and decision-makers respectively. These potential burdens and economic impacts include medical out-of-pocket costs, including health plan benefit and formulary design, non-medical costs to the patient and family, including caregiving, effects on future costs of care, workplace productivity and absenteeism, and healthcare utilization.”
  • The option for GAO to add 2 more seats to the Board of Governors for payers/purchasers
  • Shift the selection of the Methodology Committee by the Board of Governors, instead of the GAO
  • Expanded scope of GAO oversight in its reports, including AHRQ collaboration with stakeholders related to dissemination activities

Overall, we are pleased to see the progress made by the Senate Finance Committee in negotiating a 10-year reauthorization of PCORI. While one of PCORI’s funding sources is eliminated, PCORI’s funding will stay mostly whole – at about 95%. Support for a long-term, fully funded reauthorization and/or support for – or concerns about – the policy changes in the Senate Finance Committee’s bill should be directed to members of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee that are negotiating an agreement.

We must continue to convey to Congress the importance of reauthorizing PCORI for 10 more years and keeping it’s funding as close to whole as possible. We must also push for PCORI to continue with funding in any short-term extension of its authorization, which may be necessary if the House and Senate do not reach an agreement on the larger package of programs being considered for extension.

To assist in your outreach, we’ve drafted sample text for your grassroots to use in reaching out to Members of the House and Senate.


Health Care Staffer name,

My name is X, a constituent in X / title and organization. I am writing to urge you and your boss to support reauthorization of the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) both in the short-term and long-term. While PCORI’s original authorization expired at the end of September, its authorization has been extended through the two Continuing Resolutions (CRs) that expire on December 20.

In the short-term, should there be a need for another CR to finish the annual spending bills, please include funding for PCORI. While the two previous CRs extended PCORI’s authorization it has done so without new funding for FY2020. Without new funding, PCORI cannot fund new research and their infrastructure could be destabilized through staff losses.

In the long-term, please support a 10-year reauthorization of PCORI that maintains its funding and its ability to carry out patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research.

As of June 2019, PCORI has awarded more than $2.4 billion in grants and contracts to more than 700 research-related projects in 44 states across the U.S. Among PCORI’s signature achievements in its first 10 years has been the creation of a new paradigm for conducting research that better integrates patient perspectives. PCORI research provides a wealth of valuable data for patients and health care providers, while also informing how the health care system can be more efficient.

[Insert your own experience with PCORI and/or its research results]

Thank you for your attention to this important matter,

Your Name

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