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Grassley takes Finance Committee gavel, eyes hospital oversight

Sen. Chuck Grassley has reclaimed the gavel of the Finance Committee, one of the most influential healthcare policy panels in Congress. The senior Republican senator from Iowa, who is retiring in two years, has a decadeslong reputation for oversight of the hospital industry.

In laying out his agenda, Grassley vowed to bring renewed energy to pushing accountability for the industry—with plenty of focus on hospitals.

1. Tax exemption: Last year Grassley kept on the case of tax-exempt hospitals and whether they produce enough so-called community benefit to warrant their privileged status. He promised more oversight work on this issue in the next Congress.

2. 340B: Grassley was also an early policeman of potential abuses of the 340B drug discount by hospitals. He co-sponsored legislation in the last Congress to step up reporting requirements by hospitals and in this Congress said he wants to ensure “transparency and accountability” for this program and others.

3. Hospital accreditation: Among his priorities for federal agency oversight are the accrediting agencies for hospitals and nursing homes.