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Health Care Policy Press

Modern Healthcare  (10/23/2020): Trump, Biden trade barbs in final debate on healthcare plans, Medicare — Trump boasted about dismantling the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate, while Biden maintained his support for private insurance with a public option.

(10/23/2020): A HEALTH CARE DEBATE FULL OF BIG PROBLEMS AND VAGUE SOLUTIONS — No matter who the American people elect this November, the health care problems facing the president in 2021 will be the same: coronavirus, coronavirus, coronavirus, and maybe a side of total health care system meltdown.

Politico  (10/22/2020): SUOZZI, SCHAKOWSKY URGE VERMA TO ABANDON DRUG CARD PLAN — Reps. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) are leading about two dozen House Democrats in calling for CMS to ditch Trump's plan to roll out drug cards, financed by one of Medicare's trust funds.

(10/22/2020): VERMA TAKES DRUG-PRICING VICTORY LAP — The CMS chief touted the administration's moves in a letter to the editor for The Hill, including the Medicare insulin model that she oversaw and that the administration says will limit certain seniors' insulin costs to $35 per month. 

Modern Healthcare 
(10/22/2020): CMS will delay start of the Radiation Oncology model — The Radiation Oncology model will now kick off July 1 because stakeholders told CMS it would be too difficult to put into practice by Jan 1.

Modern Healthcare
(10/22/2020): Community health centers sue HHS over 340B contract pharmacy enforcement — HRSA has not yet taken action to stop drugmakers' contract pharmacy crackdowns.

(10/21/2020): Joe Biden's big lead on health care issues — Health care has fragmented into multiple issues in this campaign cycle, and Joe Biden leads President Trump on almost all of them, according to Kaiser Family Foundation polling.

(10/21/2020): DEMOCRATS URGE HHS TO RELEASE DOCS ON DRUG-CARD PLAN — Senior democratic lawmakers are demanding that the health department turn over internal documents on Trump's plan to give seniors $200 discount cards to buy prescription drugs, POLITICO's Dan Diamond reports.

(10/20/2020): BIDEN MULLS GERMAN MODEL TO LOWER DRUG PRICES — Presidential candidate Joe Biden floated an idea last week that may scare some pharma companies — using Germany as a model for lowering U.S. drug prices.

Modern Healthcare  (10/20/2020): Hospitals will need Supreme Court's help to stop site-neutral, 340B cuts — If hospitals get don't get Supreme Court review of the payment policies, they will remain in place.

(10/20/2020): BIPARTISAN LETTER ASKS HOUSE LEADERS FOR FEE SCHEDULE RELIEF — A coalition of 229 House members, compromising than half of the rank-and-file, sent a letter urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to blunt pay cuts for certain specialties — including physical therapists, radiologists, pathologists and surgeons — currently baked into next year's Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, POLITICO's Tucker Doherty reports.

(10/19/2020): TRUMP'S DRUG CARDS COULD BE ILLEGAL, TOP HHS LAWYER WARNS — The HHS general counsel is cautioning that the president's plan to give seniors $200 discount cards to buy prescription drugs could violate election law, according to three officials with knowledge of the legal concerns, POLITICO's Dan Diamond scooped.

(10/16/2020): FDA MOVES AHEAD WITH PLAN TO RATE DRUG MANUFACTURERS — The FDA announced Thursday that it will launch two pilot programs to inform a new system to rate domestic and foreign manufacturers on the quality of their drugs and active ingredients.

(10/15/2020): Outpatient visits bounce back — Outpatient visits have returned to their pre-pandemic levels after declining by nearly 60%, according to a new analysis by the Commonwealth Fund.

Politico  (10/15/2020): THE NEW GOP LINE ON OBAMACARE: NO SCOTUS THREAT TO SEE HERE — Republicans spent a decade cheering efforts to repeal Obamacare. But with Amy Coney Barrett up for confirmation and a Supreme Court challenge to the law looming, they're suddenly adopting a different view: Obamacare is not in peril, and there's no proof a sixth conservative justice would vote to kill it given the chance, POLITICO's Marianne LeVine and Alice Miranda Ollstein report.

(10/14/2020): The pandemic isn't hurting the health industry — Health care's third quarter earnings season has started, and if the quarter is anything like the previous one, the industry will continue to fare relatively well even amid the broader economic turmoil, Axios' Bob Herman writes.

Axios  (10/14/2020): No Trump drug discount cards before the election — The $200 prescription drug cards the Trump administration promised to Medicare recipients won't likely reach households by the Nov 3. goal, the Wall Street Journal reports.

(10/14/2020): GOP's Supreme Court message: Don't worry about the ACA — Health care was by far the dominant issue in the Senate Judiciary Committee's confirmation hearing yesterday for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, Axios' Sam Baker reports.

Modern Healthcare 
(10/14/2020): Barrett insits she is not 'hostile' to the ACA Jude Amy Coney Barrett told senators during her Supreme Court confirmation hearing that she does not have any particular goal to overturn the Affordable Care Act.

Modern Healthcare
10/13/2020): ACA lawsuit takes center stage in Barrett Supreme Court hearings — Senators made the future of the Affordable Care Act a center issue in the first day of the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

Modern Healthcare (10/13/2020): Foreign physicians should be exempt from visa policy change, med groups say — Six major medical groups are calling on the Department of Homeland Security to exclude foreign national physicians from a proposed change in immigration policy.

Politico (10/13/2020): KFF: INSURERS' MEDICARE PROFITS HAVE JUMPED — Insurer profits on Medicare Advantage have grown 41 percent over last year, with plans grossing an additional $64 per member per month, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation study.

Politico (10/13/2020): HEALTH CARE WARS DOMINATE SCOTUS CONFIRMATION HEARINGS— Democrats on Monday focused their remarks on the Affordable Care Act's fate, a strategy expected to shape this week's hearings in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, POLITICO's Alice Miranda Ollstein reports.

(10/9/2020): HEALTH OFFICIALS SCRAMBLE TO DELIVER ON TRUMP'S DRUG CARDS — Trump health officials are racing to finish a nearly $8 billion plan fulfilling the president’s surprise promise to deliver drug-discount cards to seniors before Election Day, POLITICO’s Dan Diamond scooped.

Axios (10/8/2020): Pence's alternative pandemic world — Vice President Mike Pence described a world in which he and President Trump led Americans' heroic effort to defeat the coronavirus during last night's vice presidential debate. The problem is, he described a world that doesn't exist.

Politico(10/8/2020): PENCE, HARRIS TURN DEBATE INTO ONE BIG HEALTHCARE DODGE  — The first crucial health care question came just minutes into Wednesday’s debate, directed toward Vice President Mike Pence: Why is the U.S. death toll from Covid-19 as a percentage of the population higher than nearly every other nation on Earth?

Axios (10/7/2020): Americans pay much more for insulin — The U.S. pays several times more for insulin than any other developed country, according to a new RAND report.

Politico  (10/7/2020): PENCE AND HARRIS TAKE THE STAGE — The vice presidential debate, moderated by USA Today's Susan Page and slated for 9 p.m. ET, is expected to be a more ... traditional debate, after President Donald Trump broke the format by repeatedly interrupting challenger Joe Biden last week. That could lead to longer, more in-depth colloquies on possible topics like coronavirus and abortion.

Modern Healthcare (10/7/2020): CMS gives hospitals 14 weeks to report COVID-19, flu data, or risk losing federal funding — CMS said it will work with hospitals over that time to come into compliance, but afterwards, could revoke their ability to get Medicare, Medicaid payments.

Modern Healthcare (10/6/2020): 4 ways 340B discounts would change if the ACA is struck down — If the Supreme Court struck down the Affordable Care Act, that could decimate some providers' savings from the 340B drug discount program.

Politico (10/6/2020): PBMs GET SUPREME COURT HEARING — Pharmacy benefit managers will fight an Arkansas law that gives community pharmacies leverage over drug middlemen, POLITICO's Susannah Luthi reports.

Axios (10/5/2020): Insurers roll back telehealth discounts — Anthem and UnitedHealthcare have begun to roll back policies that waived cost-sharing for virtual doctors' appointments, the New York Times reports.

Axios (8/28/2020): Trump's big promises on health care — President Trump's convention speech last night did not frame the coronavirus as a thing that's over, the way some of the other programming during the convention had.

STAT News (8/28/2020): New poll shows wide support for several Trump drug pricing reforms, but not rebate changes —Voters in several battleground states overwhelmingly support several of President Trump’s recent proposals to drastically cut drug prices. But they’re markedly less enthusiastic about his plan to end drug rebates, according to a new poll shared first with STAT.

Politico (8/28/2020): TRUMP PLAYS ALL THE OLD HEALTH CARE HITS — Speaking before a mostly maskless crowd at the White House, Trump during an hourlong acceptance speech rattled off a series of long-time health care priorities and portrayed his Covid-19 response as a clear success — yet offered little sense of his aspirations for a second term.

Axios (8/26/2020): Private equity's hospital profits — Hospitals owned by private equity firms rake in almost 30% more income than hospitals that aren’t, according to new research published this week in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Politico (8/26/2020): HHS EXTENDS PROVIDER BAILOUT DEADLINE AMID CONFUSION — The Trump administration is now giving providers until Sept. 13 to seek Covid-19 bailout funds, as applications lag due to confusion over the rules, Rachel and POLITICO’s Brianna Ehley report.

Politico (8/26/2020): PHARMA TRIES TO DODGE TRUMP’S DRUG ORDER — The pharmaceutical industry has submitted an alternative drug pricing plan to the White House, in hopes of stalling Trump’s plan to link Medicare spending on some medicines to the lower prices charged abroad, POLITICO’s Sarah Owermohle and Susannah Luthi report.

Politico (8/26/2020): SPEAKERS AGAIN TALKED UP 'RIGHT TO TRY,'  — A Trump-backed law to let seriously ill patients get their hands on investigational drugs, POLITICO's Susannah Luthi writes.

Modern Healthcare (8/26/2020): CMS threatens to withhold funds from providers skirting COVID-19 requirements - CMS is enforcing stricter requirements for testing in Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing homes and reporting in hospitals and labs.

Modern Healthcare (8/26/2020): Lawmakers urge regulators to expand and finalize self-referral, anti-kickback updates - More than 70 policymakers asked the administration to consider safe harbor provisions for pharmaceutical, prosthetic, medical equipment or device manufacturers as well as laboratories.

Politico Pro (8/25/2020): Drugmakers deliver counteroffer to Trump international pricing plan - Drugmakers pitched a counteroffer to the White House aimed at stalling President Donald Trump's plan to link Medicare’s spending on some expensive drugs to much lower prices they're sold for abroad, according to an internal memo circulated to industry lobbyists Monday.

The Hill (8/25/2020): Trump deadline for drug pricing order passes with no action - A deadline set by President Trump for moving forward with an executive order to lower drug prices passed at midnight on Tuesday without any action so far from the White House.

Modern Healthcare (8/25/2020): Insurers' record profits likely to deflate, analysts say - The record profits that health insurers reported in the second quarter of 2020 will likely subside over the next several months as they return excess income to plan members, according to credit ratings agency Moody's Investors Service.

Politico Pro (8/25/2020): Generics giant Teva charged with price fixing - The Justice Department on Tuesday charged Teva Pharmaceuticals with conspiring to fix prices, alleging that consumers were overcharged by at least $330 million.

Modern Healthcare (8/25/2020): Report: Hospital margins improved in July - A new Kaufman Hall report using data from more than 800 hospitals shows margins improved in July even without federal aid, although they still declined slightly year-over-year.

Modern Healthcare (8/25/2020): 2020 Census holds fate of trillions in health-related spending - The 2020 Census hasn't received much attention from the healthcare industry, but a decision to stop collecting census information early could have major implications for states, providers, insurers and the public.

Politico (8/24/2020): TRUMP’s STILL-VAGUE SECOND-TERM HEALTH AGENDA — The campaign announced a bulleted list of “core priorities,” including seven health care-related goals.

The New York Times (8/24/2020): Trump Keeps Promoting a Drug Order That No One Has Seen - The president’s campaign has made his efforts to lower prescription drug prices a centerpiece of his re-election pitch, but the executive order remains unseen.