The House is in recess this week before coming back for one last week and then adjourning to campaign.

The Senate is in session.

Yesterday, the Senate passed S. 2554, which bans “gag clauses.” These are contracts between insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies that forbid pharmacists from telling patients of the existence of low-cost alternatives to name-brand drugs.

Gag clauses are a symptom of our dysfunctional health care system, with its over-reliance on third-party producers. This results in the patients having no ability or incentive to minimize costs, and providers have incentives to cede control over health care to insurance companies and others. The solution is to restore a free-market in health care, not impose new regulations on health care providers.

The bill passed 97-2. Only Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mike Lee (R-UT) voted against the amendment.

Senator Lee was the only Senator to vote against H.R. 6, the bill massively expanding government power to address the opioid crisis.

For more on this legation and its provisions see here, and here.

Last week, the House and Senate passed H.R. 5895, the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch and Military Construction Appropriations bill. The House passed the bill by a vote of 377-20 and the Senate passed it by a vote of 92-5.

The five Senate nos were:

Jeff Flake (R-AZ)

Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)

Ed Markey (D-MA)

Rand Paul (R-KY)

Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

You can see the House roll-call here.

Also last week, Congressional Republicans and Democrats reached a deal to attach legislation funding the government until early December in order to allow them to avoid a government shutdown. The legislation will be attached to the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations and Defense bill, which passed the Senate overwhelmingly in August.  

Adding language perceiving a shutdown to the bill guarantees this $854.3 billion welfare-warfare state monstrosity will pass overwhelmingly because it would be irresponsible to shut down the government, but it is not irresponsible to pile on more debt to fund failed programs.