Politico (1/8/2021): One potential area of bipartisanship: drug pricing - The issue has registered for years as one of the public’s top concerns, even amid the pandemic. And Republican respondents to the poll ranked addressing high prices as their third-most important priority, behind Covid-19 relief and economic stimulus.
(1/7/2021): Six healthcare policies Democrats could push with control of the Senate
— Democrats will have much more latitude to pursue their healthcare agenda with a trifecta government.
Politico (1/7/2021): WHAT JOE BIDEN IS INHERITING — For an incoming president who’s betting the country will be receptive to his calls for newfound harmony, consider this week an ominous start.
(1/6/2021): Georgia results shake up Dems' health agenda
— If both Democrats ultimately pull off wins in Georgia's Senate races, they'll secure a narrow Democratic majority and increase the odds that significant health care legislation could become law.
(1/6/2021): BIDEN’s HEALTH AMBITIONS JUST GOT BIGGER
— If Democrats' lead in a Georgia runoff holds, it would give Biden 50 votes in the Senate – and breathe a whole lot of life into his administration’s health care plans.
(1/5/2021): Some drugmakers may not comply with HHS 340B opinion on contract pharmacies
— HHS' advisory opinion doesn't have the force of law and some drugmakers have signaled defiance.
(1/5/2021): WHAT RESTS ON GEORGIA...
other than everything? Big chunks of President-elect Joe Biden's health care agenda, for starters.
(1/4/2021): BUT BID GOODBYE TO ONE PHARMA POLICY: MOST-FAVORED NATIONS
— Just days before the rule was set to go into effect on Jan. 1, a California judge issued a preliminary injunction that essentially leaves the rule in the new president’s hands, POLITICO’s Sarah Owermohle writes.
(1/4/2021): Connectivity: a social determinant of health that can exacerbate all the others
— It’s time to see broadband access as a utility, like electricity and plumbing. The longer our connectivity disparity continues, the more we will leave people behind.
Modern Healthcare (12/31/2020): HHS says drugmakers must provide 340B discounts to contract pharmacies — HHS issued an advisory opinion in support of covered entities.
(12/31/2020): Insurers lose multiyear lobbying fight over surprise medical bills
— Health insurers were dealt a major blow this week when President Trump signed a year-end spending package that included legislation to protect patients from surprise medical bills.
(12/31/2020): How hospitals are building on COVID-19 telehealth momentum
— Healthcare executives will have to focus on the patient experience, clinician training and resources, and payment challenges if they want to make telehealth a permanent part of care delivery in 2021.
Roll Call (12/27/2020): Trump signs massive omnibus spending, coronavirus relief package — President Donald Trump on Sunday signed a massive government funding and pandemic aid package, despite earlier calling it a "disgrace" and demanding that lawmakers amend it.
The Hill (12/26/2020): Biden pushes Trump to sign COVID-19 bill: 'It needs to be signed into law now' — President-elect Joe Biden on Saturday pressed President Trump to immediately sign a COVID-19 relief bill that is stuck in limbo, blasting what he deemed Trump's "abdication of responsibility."
Modern Healthcare (12/21/2020): Congress to ban surprise bills, include provider grant fix in year-end deal — Lawmakers reached agreement Sunday on major COVID-19 relief and government funding legislation, including many provisions important to the healthcare industry.
(12/21/2020): SURPRISE! CONGRESS AGREED
… to end “surprise” medical bills after a two-year lobbying brawl, POLITICO's Susannah Luthi reports. There's been bipartisan support to protect patients from such bills — and it was a priority for retiring Senate HELP Chair Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) — and yet the legislative effort looked all but dead just a few weeks ago, Susannah notes.
Politico (12/18/2020): DEMS ARE PUZZLING OVER BIDEN’s HEALTH TEAM STRUCTURE — President-elect joe Biden has vowed to recruit a world-class team to oversee the pandemic response and his broader health agenda.
(12/18/2020): McConnell 'more optimistic' about a coronavirus relief deal
— Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Friday morning that he is feeling “more optimistic” than the day before about congressional leaders reaching a deal on a $900 billion coronavirus relief bill soon.
Politico (12/17/2020): CONGRESS IS ON THE VERGE OF A COVID DEAL — After eight months, House and Senate leaders are finally nearing agreement on a coronavirus relief package. The only major remaining question now is how soon they can finalize the deal, POLITICO’s Burgess Everett, Heather Caygle and Jake Sherman report.
(12/17/2020): HOW GROUPS ARE LOBBYING FOR THE FRONT OF THE VACCINE LINE
— Teachers, firefighters and camp counselors all say they should be next in line to get coronavirus vaccinations. The question is who’s most “essential,” POLITICO’s Rachel Roubein and Brianna Ehley report.
The Wall Street Journal
(12/16/2020): Second Stimulus Checks and Other Covid-19 Aid—What’s In, What’s Out in Relief Talks
- Congressional leaders were approaching agreement on a roughly $900 billion coronavirus-relief deal that includes another round of direct payments to households, along with aid for schools, vaccine distribution, unemployed workers and more. Congressional aides noted that the negotiations were continuing.
Politico (12/16/2020): It's also crunch time for a 'surprise' bill ban - Washington’s health care lobbyists waited all day for news on whether McConnell would give the nod to the hard-won compromise to end “surprise” medical bills, POLITICO's Susannah Luthi writes.
(12/16/2020): A COVID RELIEF DEAL CREEPS CLOSER
— Congressional negotiators are signaling progress on efforts to break their monthslong stalemate over coronavirus aid, with top lawmakers vowing to remain in session until a deal is struck, POLITICO’s Heather Caygle, Burgess Everett and Marianne LeVine report.
Politico (12/15/2020): BECERRA THROWS SUPPORT TO HOSPITALS IN THE 340B WARS — The California attorney general led a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar — the man he’s slated to replace — amid the standoff between providers and pharma over the federal drug discount program. Some major manufacturers have quit extending generous discounts on certain drugs to pharmacies contracted with 340B providers, and Becerra and his fellow attorneys general made clear: they side with the hospitals.
(12/15/2020): KEY PANEL GIVES THUMBS-UP TO TRUMP's DRUG CARDS
— The president's stalled campaign promise to send $200 drug discount cards to seniors has new life after an obscure-but-important industry panel on Monday night gave its blessing, POLITICO's Dan Diamond scooped.
(12/14/2020): 11th-hour agreement on surprise medical bills
- Key congressional committees on Friday announced that they've reached an agreement on how to prevent patients from receiving surprise medical bills.
Politico (12/14/2020): A SURPRISE ON 'SURPRISE BILLING' — Key congressional committees on Friday clinched a last-minute deal to protect patients from receiving “surprise” medical bills, potentially putting an end to nearly two years of infighting, POLITICO's Susannah Luthi and Rachel Roubein report.
Politico Pro (12/11/2020): AS PANDEMIC RAGES, CONGRESS AT A STANDSTILL — Over the past eight months, the coronavirus crisis has gone from bad to worse to near unfathomable, miring the nation in a deep economic hole amid a daily death count that’s climbed above 3,000 — or the equivalent of 9/11 on repeat.
(12/11/2020): HHS signs off on 340B dispute resolution rule
- The dispute resolution process allows providers and other covered entities to force drugmakers into a process that would result in final, binding decisions by the department.
Modern Healthcare (12/10/2020): Surprise billing talks die down after provider lobbying offensive - Last-minute efforts to reach agreement on policy to ban surprise medical bills have slowed amid a multi-front lobbying push by healthcare providers.
Politico (12/10/2020): WHITE HOUSE TRIES TO GET TRUMP's $200 DRUG CARDS OVER LATEST HURDLE — A little-known industry group has effectively blocked Trump's controversial drug-discount cards for weeks, and the White House is considering plans to go around it, POLITICO's Dan Diamond scooped.
Modern Healthcare (12/9/2020): McConnell backs down on 'red line' of COVID-19 liability protections - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would be willing to push negotiations on liability protections and funding for state and local governments to 2021.
Politico (12/9/2020): A LOOK AT BIDEN ADVISERS’ PROVIDER PRIORITIES — An informal advisory group created by Biden’s campaign drafted recommendations that could raise Medicare rates for primary care providers and expanding value-based payment schemes, according to documents scooped by POLITICO’s Tucker Doherty.
(12/9/2020): THE RACE FOR E&C IS HEATING UP
— Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Kathleen Rice are among the roughly dozen Democrats vying for limited slots on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, POLITICO’s Heather Caygle, Sarah Ferris and Susannah Luthi report.
Politico (12/9/2020): COVID RELIEF TALKS ARE GETTING COMPLICATED — Congress’ fresh effort to strike a coronavirus aid deal is getting bogged down again, with negotiators juggling three increasingly complex options.
Politico (12/9/2020): ‘SURPRISE’ BILLING LEGISLATION LOOKS DEAD — It’s increasingly unlikely Congress will pass a billing fix that holds patients harmless from sometimes staggering bills for out-of-network or emergency services after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi failed to bring a powerful committee chairman on board.
Politico (12/8/2020): DeGETTE, UPTON: THE TIME FOR CURES 2.0 IS NOW — Six years after they first began collaborating on what became the 21st Century Cures Act, which won bipartisan support and has been credited with accelerating biomedical research, the two lawmakers say they’re trying to land their-long promised legislative follow-up.
(12/8/2020): W&M CHAIRMAN WANTS TO PUSH ‘SURPRISE’ BILL LEGISLATION TO 2021
— Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) wants to once again punt on passing legislation to stop patients from getting hit with staggering bills — telling POLITICO's Rachel Roubein and Susannah Luthi he prefers to deal with the policy next year.
(12/8/2020): WHAT HEALTH LEADERS ARE HOPING TO SEE FROM BIDEN's TEAM
— Rep. Donna Shalala , the former HHS secretary, told PULSE over the weekend that it was important to rebuild the luster of agencies that have dimmed under Trump's watch, like the embattled FDA. One solution, she argued: find appointees whose reputations carry serious weight.
Politico (12/8/2020): IS A BRAWL BUILDING OVER BECERRA? One conservative activist organization already received two six-figure contributions Monday morning after news of Becerra's selection reached its donor network, POLITICO's Alice Miranda Ollstein reports. The group is considering using the funds to launch a series of ad buys related to abortion that would air in Georgia between now and the Jan. 5 runoffs, Alice writes.
(12/7/2020): Hospitals continue to crack under the surge
- Hospitals across the country are reaching their breaking point on ICU and bed capacity as COVID surges, forcing many health systems to begin diverting patients from emergency rooms and ration care, Axios' Orion Rummler reports.
(12/7/2020): IT's BECERRA
— The California attorney general is Biden's choice to lead HHS, capping a turbulent process that saw at least three other people named as front-runners by news organizations in the past week.