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Bloomberg (1/14/2021): FDA Pick Advances to Full Senate: Robert Califf is a step closer to becoming the new head of the Food and Drug Administration after a Senate panel yesterday advanced his nomination. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee voted 13-8 to support Califf, who previously led the agency in the final year of the Obama administration. The vote came after a hearing in which he got bipartisan support from panel members, despite some opposition over his drug industry ties. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) joined most Republicans in voting no.

E&E News (1/14/2021): Appropriators agree to keep pursuing fiscal 2022 deal - Appropriators failed to reach an agreement yesterday on the parameters for a fiscal 2022 omnibus spending package but agreed to continue talks with a Feb. 18 funding deadline less than five weeks away.

Axios (1/13/2021): Califf confirmation could be a "nail-biter" - Robert Califf, President Biden's nominee to lead the FDA, is facing a surprisingly tight confirmation vote in the Senate, Axios' Caitlin Owens reports.

The Hill (1/13/2021): Biden's FDA nominee advances through key Senate committee - The Senate Health Committee on Thursday voted to advance the nomination of Robert Califf as commissioner for the Food and Drug Administration, moving him one step closer to confirmation.

The Hill (1/13/2021): Negotiators report progress toward 2022 spending deal - Senate and House negotiators say they are getting closer to a deal on setting the top-line spending number for an appropriations package to fund government past Feb. 18 and avoid a shutdown. 

Politico Pro (1/13/2021): SENATE PANEL VOTES ON FDA NOMINATION — The Senate HELP Committee will vote this morning on whether to advance Robert Califf’s nomination to helm the FDA for a second time. As your morning host and her FDA team colleagues have reported, the cardiologist appears likely to return to the Silver Spring, Md., campus thanks to support from committee Republicans.

Modern Healthcare (1/12/2021): Not-for-profit hospitals could get millions in congressional earmarks - Not-for-profit hospitals are slated to benefit from the return of earmarks for capital projects and equipment in a bill that could pass as soon as next month.

The Hill (1/12/2021): Cancer death rates fall 32 percent since 1991 peak - The U.S.'s cancer death rate has fallen by a third since a peak in 1991, sparked by a drop in lung cancer fatalities, according to a report from the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Bloomberg (1/10/2021): Pelosi Floats Virus Help in Spending Plan - Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said there’s an “opportunity” to add federal coronavirus relief aid to a package of legislation funding the government as a February deadline looms.

Modern Healthcare (1/7/2021): CMS proposes tighter marketing, network adequacy for Medicare Advantage - CMS also wants to reduce out-of-pocket drug costs and improve dual-eligible enrollees' Medicare Advantage experiences.

Politico (1/7/2021): MEDICARE TWEAKS — The Biden administration Thursday proposed a new rule that aims to lower prescription drug prices for Medicare Part D beneficiaries by taking aim at fees paid by pharmacies to drug middlemen, POLITICO’s Megan Wilson reports.

Bloomberg (1/7/2021): Medicare Drug Plans Must Pass Savings to Consumers: Medicare beneficiaries would pay lower out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs under a proposed rule by the Biden administration that would require Medicare prescription drug plans to pass on savings to consumers. More Medicare “Part D” drug plans are entering into “price concession” arrangements in which they pay reduced costs to some pharmacies for certain dispensed drugs. But these arrangements aren’t publicly disclosed, and the drug plans don’t pass the savings along to Medicare beneficiaries who purchase the drugs.

Modern Healthcare (1/6/2021): Pharmacists can help transform healthcare deserts - Pharmacists have been using telemedicine to help patients connect with their physicians to answer questions, address concerns and set health goals.

Axios (1/5/2021): Health care has one of the highest quit rates - A record 4.5 million workers quit their jobs in November, Axios' Emily Peck and Courtenay Brown report. Zoom in: Health care had the second-highest quit rate (6.4%) of all industries.

Modern Healthcare (1/4/2021): CMS officially tosses 'Most-Favored Nation' drug pay model - While the model was pitched as a way to lower drug prices, it didn't specify whether drugmakers would have to decrease prices for healthcare providers, meaning providers could have had to offer drugs at a financial loss.

Axios (1/4/2021): America's health system under pressure - Parts of the U.S. health system — from testing sites to emergency departments to hospitals — are quickly being overwhelmed by Omicron. Driving the news: Several states including Ohio, Illinois, Delaware and Maryland have reported record highs for COVID hospitalizations.

Axios (1/4/2021): Big-ticket drugs with higher prices in 2022 - Drug companies raised the prices of 460 medications on Jan. 1, with most prices increasing 5–6% on average, Axios' Bob Herman writes.

Bloomberg (1/4/2021): Drug Pricing Group Launches Ads Targeting Manchin: Another Democrat-aligned group is launching ads in West Virginia to pressure Sen. Joe Manchin (D) to back the party’s social spending plan, known as the Build Back Better Act. Patients for Affordable Drugs Now will have ads in West Virginia and Washington D.C. calling on Manchin to support the legislation to get drug pricing provisions into law, Alex Ruoff reports.

Modern Healthcare  (12/17/2021): Provider groups call for drug supply chain restructuring to avoid shortages - The American Medical Association and others argue drugmakers need to be given incentives to manufacture medicines at risk of shortages.

Bloomberg (12/17/2021): Democrats Scrapping to Save Biden Agenda: The outlook for President Joe Biden’s economic agenda is in peril in January if Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) sticks by his demands and forces Democrats to choose between dramatically shrinking the bill’s benefits or jettisoning most of them.

Politico Pro (12/17/2021): BIDEN BUMPS BBB — President Joe Biden is conceding it will take until 2022 to pass his $1.7 trillion domestic spending package, further delaying key measures aimed at reshaping the nation’s health system.

Modern Healthcare (12/16/2021): Telehealth helps in pandemic, concerns linger: AP-NORC poll - Comfort levels with remote care can vary depending on factors like age, income level or race, according to the survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Axios (12/16/2021): National health care spending tops $4.1T - Americans spent more than $4.1 trillion on health care in 2020, almost 10% more than what was spent in 2019, according to new independent federal data, Axios' Bob Herman writes.

Politico Pro (12/16/2021): BUILD BACK LATER — Democrats’ bid to pass a $1.7 trillion spending package is close to stalling out for the year over difficulties getting Sen. Joe Manchin on board with the bill, POLITICO’s Burgess Everett, Alex Thompson and Jonathan Lemire report.

Politico Pro (12/16/2021): HEALTH SPENDING GROWTH DOUBLED IN 2020 — Spending on health care jumped by 9.7 percent as the pandemic took hold in 2020, more than double the prior year’s growth rate and the fastest year-over-year jump in almost two decades, POLITICO’s Rachael Levy reports.

Bloomberg (12/15/2021): Califf Gets Bipartisan Support at Hearing - A top Senate Republican joined some Democrats in expressing support for Robert Califf, President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Food and Drug Administration, at a confirmation hearing yesterday.