On Tuesday, Americans for Tax Reform held a Capitol Hill briefing on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposal to subject Medicare Part B drugs to an “International Pricing Index” (IPI).
As ATR has written extensively, the IPI payment model will effectively import foreign price controls into the United States, lowering quality and access to lifesaving medicine. In November, ATR led a coalition of 56 conservative groups in opposition to the IPI.
ATR President Grover Norquist opened the panel by highlighting the effects of the proposal on trade, saying: “Under this rule, every time we win on trade, the administration would have to raise drug prices on Americans. This is a truly bad idea.”
“If the Supreme Court rules that Obamacare is out,” President Donald Trump said last week, “we’ll have a plan that is far better than Obamacare.”
A look at his fiscal year 2020 budget shows that the president has a plan to reduce costs and increase health care choices. His plan would achieve this by redirecting federal premium subsidies and Medicaid expansion money into grants to states. States would be required to use the money to establish consumer-centered programs that make health insurance affordable regardless of income or medical condition.
The president’s proposal is buttressed by a growing body of evidence that relaxing federal regulations and freeing the states to innovate makes health care more affordable for families and small businesses.
Senate Democrats, including several of the party’s presidential candidates, have savaged President Trump for proposing to reduceMedicare spending by several hundred billion dollars over the next decade.
Senator Kamala Harris of California said the proposed changes in Medicare “would hurt our seniors.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts tweeted, “The Trump administration wants to cut hundreds of billions of dollars from the #Medicare budget, all while giving billionaires and giant corporations huge tax breaks.”
If the president is looking for a government to blame for distorted U.S. drug prices, he need look no further than our own. The federal government requires manufacturers to pay rebates, grant discounts, and comply with various price-distorting directives across a range of programs.
Legal challenges aren’t slowing down the Trump administration’s push to reframe Medicaid as something closer to a welfare program.
Driving the news: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Friday approved Ohio’s proposal to add work requirements to its Medicaid program.
- Just a day earlier, Justice Department lawyers were back before the same federal judge who ruled against work requirements last year, urging him to let the policy move forward now.
The CMS rolled out new tools on Thursday to help states get approval to make changes to Medicaid such as implementing work requirements.
The CMS Administrator Seema Verma defended the administration’s push to get more states to pursue 1115 demonstration waivers even as the agency faces criticism over coverage losses due to work rules.
|The CMS is asking the public for ideas and advice on how to make it easier for health insurers to sell policies across state lines. The agency issued a request for information on Wednesday for recommendations on eliminating barriers and enhancing insurers’ ability to sell individual insurance coverage from state-to-state. The request, which the CMS said is meant to promote competition and choice for consumers, follows President Trump’s October 2017 executive order on cost and competition in the health sector. CMS said it is interested in feedback about how states could use Section 1333 of the ACA, which allows insurers to enter into a “healthcare choice compact,” to sell out-of-state coverage if state regulators agree.
The Trump administration is sounding out an idea to require that hospitals, doctors and other medical providers publicly disclose the “secretly-negotiated” prices they charge insurance companies for services, a move that proponents say would expose for the first time the actual cost of care. [Some are skeptical that anyone in the health sector knows the actual cost of care.] Hospitals and insurers negotiate pricing contracts which are generally bound by confidentiality. HHS is seeking public comment on whether patients have a right to see the discounted prices in advance of obtaining care.
The Trump administration wants to know what challenges employer and group health plans face in maintaining grandfathered status for Affordable Care Act plans.
The Treasury and Labor departments and HHS issued the request for informationlate Thursday. The request comes as the number of grandfathered plans fall.
The agencies want to understand “whether there are opportunities for the departments to assist such plans and issuers,” the rule said.
Galen Institute president Grace-Marie Turner testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Feb. 13 about preserving consumer protections in health insurance while giving consumers more choices of affordable coverage. She focused on:
- The Trump administration’s Section 1332 guidance which gives states new authority to help their individual and small group markets heal from the damage the ACA has done. Early waivers have seen premium costs reduced by 30% or more and enrollment in health coverage increase.
- The importance of the administration’s new rule allowing people to purchase temporary health insurance (so called Short-Term Limited Duration Plans) to help them bridge gaps between coverage, either because they are between jobs, starting new businesses, or retiring early
- The strong commitment on both sides of the political aisle to pre-existing condition protections
- And the value of private agents and brokers in doing outreach for exchange enrollment—enrolling 40% of policyholders vs 1% for the ACA-created Navigators