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Finance Committee Unveils Details Of Monumental Drug-Pricing Bill

The Senate Finance Committee unveiled a long-awaited drug-pricing bill, to be marked up Thursday (July 25), that includes monumental changes to drug-pricing policy in Medicare and Medicaid -- including restructuring the Part D benefit, imposing controversial inflationary rebates in Medicare Parts B and D, and raising the rebate cap in Medicaid.

White House Endorses Finance Rx Pricing Bill, PhRMA Opposes It

Finance GOP Still Balking At Inflation Caps, Dems Want Drug Negotiation

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The Trump administration on Tuesday (July 23) asked a federal judge to delay ruling on the legality of CMS’ approval of Medicaid work requirements in New Hampshire, but advocates for beneficiaries and a lawyer for New Hampshire urged the judge to rule quickly.

The budget and debt ceiling deal reached by Congress and the White House extends sequestration on Medicare through 2029 to help pay for higher budget caps on FDA and other nondefense agencies -- a move the Congressional Budget Office says will increase spending by around 2% for most Medicare benefits through September 2027.

CMS has agreed to tighten reporting guidance and data requirements for state survey agencies on abuse and neglect in nursing homes, but the agency continues to resist calls from the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) to examine claims data.

An FDA expert said the two-year deal reached by Congress and the White House on Monday (July 22) to raise the government’s budget caps is good for FDA in that it moves Congress closer to passing a 6% funding increase for the agency for fiscal 2020.

Expanding Medicaid coverage is associated with a reduction in mortality among low-income populations that benefit from expansion, according to a University of Michigan study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research Monday (July 22).

The HHS Office of Inspector General says a lack of transparency on which drugs are part of the 340B program may have caused Part D plans to lose tens of millions of dollars in drug rebates from manufacturers in 2014, and the costs to Part D may have increased since because more pharmacies have joined the 340B program.

CMS Administrator Seema Verma took aim at public option proposals, which have become increasingly popular among the 2020 Democratic field and likened the policy to Medicare for All during a speech to Medicare stakeholders.

Justice in Aging says that so-called Duals Special Needs Plans look-alikes will interfere with CMS’ policy initiatives to improve care for those eligible for Medicare and Medicaid if the look-alike plans are left unchecked, and the group is urging CMS to force plans with majority duals enrollment to meet D-SNP requirements -- but the group says plans, not beneficiaries, should be the target of regulatory changes.

FDA launched its first e-cigarette prevention television ads Monday (July 22).

Executives from Pfizer, Genentech, Amgen and Alkermes met with White House officials Thursday (July 18) to discuss policies to control drug prices, according to sources familiar with the meeting.