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DRUGS ARE FALLING SOON — Early next week, the Biden administration is expected to unveil the first ten drugs that will be subject to Medicare price negotiations, our report from David Lim and Adam Cancryn, naming four people involved in the plans.
Government officials are expected to disclose the list before stock markets open on Tuesday, as it could affect share prices of public pharmaceutical companies. According to an invitation obtained by POLITICO, the White House will host an event on Tuesday at 2 p.m. on “reducing health care costs.” A White House official confirmed that the event will take place next week.
The White House official declined to specify when exactly the administration would release the drug list. But people involved in the plans — who were given anonymity to discuss internal planning — warned the timing could still change.
The announcement represents an important step in efforts to lower drug prices. Health officials have been scrutinizing the names of the specific drugs they want to discuss, though only a select group of drugs appear to qualify under the program’s criteria.
“These drugs include blood thinners, diabetes drugs and cancer drugs,” said Bailey Reavis, a federal relations officer at the healthcare group Families USA, of the drugs that meet the parameters, which include expensive, commonly used drugs with no generic competitors. “We know it will be drugs that cost Medicare billions of dollars annually.”
Why It Happens: CMS is required to publish up to 10 Medicare Part D drugs it selects for negotiation under the Inflation Reduction Actwith which the Democrats gave Medicare extra powers.
Democrats have long viewed Medicare negotiations as an important part of their drug pricing agenda.
The challenges ahead: It will take years for the administration to negotiate the savings and pass them on to patients. And multiple lawsuits from drug companies and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce claiming the negotiations are unconstitutional could derail the process.
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TODAY ON OUR PULSE CHECK PODCAST, Host Alice Miranda Ollstein chats with Ben, who breaks down the debate in Congress about proposed changes to high-deductible health insurance plans and how the changes could help or hurt lower-income families.
HEALTH CARE IN THE DEBATE — Candidates debated how far to go on abortion restrictions and came out harshly on fentanyl Wednesday night during the Republican Party’s presidential debate, but health care was not front and center.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis dodged a question about whether he would sign a federal abortion ban similar to Florida’s six-week ban. Former US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, also dodged a direct answer to the question, arguing that a national ban is unlikely to garner the 60 votes needed in the Senate to pass.
Former Vice President Mike Pence and Senator. Tim Scott (RS.C.) supported a national ban, arguing that failing to do so would facilitate abortions in Democratic-led states.
Zoom out: Healthcare played a major role in a number of recent elections, including the 2020 one – when Covid was high on the agenda – and the 2022 midterm elections, just after the fall. Roe against Wade. Abortion continues to be a major motivating factor for Democratic voters in recent state elections.
It also played a prominent role in 2016 and 2012, after the Affordable Care Act came into effect.
In the Republican Party primary this time around, healthcare numbers are at a low ebb, possibly marking the first presidential election in many years in which Obamacare is not a major issue.
“In general, Republicans try to avoid talking about health care,” said Larry Levitt, KFF’s executive vice president for health policy. “Healthcare is often a political loser of an issue for Republicans. The Republican Party had some early political success in opposing Obamacare, but it backfired.”
Most candidates have not yet released substantive healthcare plans. While it varies by candidate, when they talked about health care before Wednesday, it was largely focused on the crackdown on fentanyl and dealing with mental health issues, though details were usually sparse. Candidates have also often been pressured about their stance on abortion.
Questions about federal abortion bans and whether to cut Medicare could divide the candidates, Levitt said. Mental health and fentanyl could unite candidates, and mental health inclusion could be a “sleeper” topic, he added.
NEW FDA FOOD DIVISION LEADER – The FDA is calling on Jim Jones, a veteran of the Environmental Protection Agency, to lead the agency’s troubled human foods division, reports POLITICO’s Meredith Lee Hill.
Jones was a member of the independent panel of experts that last year charted the “constant turmoil” within the FDA’s foods division. FDA Commissioner Robert Califf appointed the panel after a series of food safety concerns culminating in the closure of a major baby food factory that led to nationwide shortages last year.
FIRST IN PULSE: PUBLIC PROVIDER DIRECTORY — Data company Trilliant Health is releasing its nationwide supplier directory, which is based on claims data from more than 300 million Americans.
Why It Happens: The company wants to help healthcare organizations comply with the No surprise law, which limits how much people can be charged for out-of-network providers based on inaccurate directory information. It plans to make directories more accurate by using up-to-date data, leveraging claims activity, and not requiring providers to manually update data.
Health insurance and self-insured employers must disclose price comparison information for all covered items and services before January 1 to comply with CMS’s Health Insurance Price Transparency Regulations.
“You can’t do that meaningfully without a directory,” Hal Andrews, CEO of Trilliant Health, told Pulse. “This is very useful for that.”
It comes after CMS asked for public input in October about creating a national provider directory. Guides are often inaccurate and can be expensive, the agency said.
RFK JR. KICK OUT — A federal judge on Wednesday granted a request from Robert F. Kennedy Jr. rejected to temporarily stop Google from removing two videos of the presidential candidate, POLITICO’s Andrew Zhang reports.
Kennedy wants to sue the company for censorship, claiming that federal government officials forced Google to remove them. Google-owned YouTube had removed videos of Kennedy claiming it was medical disinformation, according to the company. The company claims that the content violates YouTube’s policies.
The Kennedy campaign told POLITICO it is “ready to continue its efforts.”
MOTHERS REPORT MATERIAL ABUSE – One in five mothers say they have been abused by health care providers during maternity care, a new CDC report finds.
Amid a rise in the U.S. maternal death rate, officials told reporters that the findings underscore the importance of respectful care to save lives — especially since 45 percent of mothers surveyed said they felt uncomfortable talking about their concerns. to talk. The agency said health care systems should train caregivers about unconscious bias, stigma and discrimination in maternity care.
Thirty percent of black, Hispanic, and multiracial mothers reported abuse ranging from no response when calling for help to violating their physical privacy, and 40 percent reported discrimination during maternity care.
Limits: More than two-thirds of respondents in the self-reported, opt-in survey were white, even though black women were responsible for two-thirds of maternal deaths by 2021.
PATIENT DEATH IN NYC — An old patient who fought a consolidation plan involving the Family Health Center of Montefiore in the Bronx died last week in a stairwell leading to the facility, but was not discovered until five days later, according to the NYPD and community organizers, POLITICO’s Maya Kaufman reports. .
Sary Mao, 57, was discovered Monday. A preliminary police investigation revealed she had fallen and died the previous Wednesday, but no foul play was suspected.
Since Montefiore implemented the consolidation plan last fall, current and former employees said waiting rooms are overcrowded and patients are waiting longer to be seen. As a result, medical emergencies or other patient incidents that occur outside of exam rooms are more likely to go undetected, three employees said.
Montefiore declined to comment on the employees’ allegations or answer questions about the incident.
NBC News reports that veterans are “overwhelmingly” denied benefits due to problems related to radiation exposure.
STAT reports on a study showing that gender affirming healthcare surgeries have tripled in recent years in the US.