The Trump administration is working on actions it can take without Congress to fight high drug prices, according to people who have attended listening sessions officials are holding on the issue.
It is unclear what exactly the administration will do or how consequential the measures will actually be. But the prospect of changes is leaving the pharmaceutical industry, a powerful lobbying force in Washington, facing some unpredictability.
One lobbyist said some attendees at listening sessions with HHS Secretary Tom Price went in expecting a “dog and pony show” but instead found a meeting that was “more substantive than expected,” with Price and other top officials engaged and asking questions, though they did not tip their hand on what they are planning.
One attendee said HHS officials invited the group back at some point in the future to provide feedback once there is a set of proposals. Read more here: http://bit.ly/2qoTrdh
White House will let small businesses circumvent Healthcare.gov
The Trump administration will allow small businesses to sign up for insurance coverage directly through an insurance agent or broker instead of through ObamaCare’s Healthcare.gov website.
The change, slated to take effect for plans beginning on Jan. 1, 2018, allows small businesses to circumvent the Affordable Care Act’s Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) marketplaces, which haven’t been very successful.
About 85,000 people from 11,000 small businesses are covered under the SHOP exchanges, though millions more were expected to participate when the program launched.
“Our goal is to reduce ACA burdens on consumers and small businesses and make it easier for them to purchase coverage,” said Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Administrator Seema Verma.
Read more here: http://bit.ly/2pOp7rf
House Budget chair to push for Medicaid changes
House Budget Committee Chairwoman Rep. Diane BlackDiane BlackOvernight Finance: Chamber urges Treasury to withdraw rules on inversions, estate tax | Why Trump moved on tax reform | Trump takes aim at drug pricing | Budget chair wants Medicaid changes Overnight Healthcare: Trump taking aim at drug pricing House Budget chair to push for Medicaid changes MORE (R-Tenn.) says she hopes to get changes on Medicaid payments into next year’s budget.
“I intend to push for a change in the Medicaid reimbursement rate in our upcoming budget resolution to ensure that Medicaid dollars are used to properly support our most vulnerable citizens,” Black wrote in a RealClearPolitics op-ed Monday.
Black said Medicaid has a “faulty foundation,” claiming that states receive more federal dollars “to cover able-bodied adults above the poverty line who are on Medicaid than they do to support children and the disabled who are well below the poverty line.”
“That’s wrong,” she said.
Read more here: http://bit.ly/2ql9kmm
What we’re reading:
Secret Republican Senate talks are shaping healthcare legislation (NPR)
Poll: Percentage of Americans naming healthcare as No. 1 problem surges (Becker’s Hospital Review)
Tricky position for GOP candidates as healthcare repeal heads to the Senate (HuffPost)
State by state:
AHCA could lead to cuts in services for elderly, people with disabilities in Virginia (richmond.com)
Massachusetts gov: GOP healthcare plan would ‘take a cleaver’ to state coverage (http://weymouth.wickedlocal.com)
How big can the Alaska healthcare bubble grow (Kenai Peninsula Online)