What We're Reading: Democrats Aim at Drug Prices; Judge Hears Birth Control Case; ACA Abortion Rule Fight

AJMC Staff

Eyeing 2020, Democratic Senators Put Drug Prices Front and Center 

Democratic presidential hopefuls for 2020 are targeting prescription drug prices, STAT News reported. The list includes Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, who unveiled a proposal to lower drug prices that mirrors one from the administration. Sen. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, have both amped up language about drug pricing. In addition, the House Oversight Committee has scheduled a hearing on the issue that will occur more than a week before it calls former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to testify.

US Judge to Hear Employer Birth Control Case Brought by California

A US judge will hear arguments over California's attempt to block new Trump administration rules that would allow more categories of employers, including publicly traded companies, to opt out of providing no-cost birth control to women as required under the Affordable Care Act. Reuters reported that Judge Haywood Gilliam previously blocked an interim version of those rules; his decision was upheld by an appeals court, but the case is before him again after the administration finalized the measures in November, prompting a renewed legal challenge by California and other states.

HHS Hears From Republicans, Democrats Over ACA's Abortion Premium Rule  

Senate Democrats and Republicans are fighting over a proposed rule that would change how individuals are billed for abortion coverage, with both sides sending 2 letters to HHS this week, Roll Call reported. The proposal would require enrollees in Affordable Care Act plans to submit separate premiums for essential health benefits and for abortion coverage. The abortion fee would be required to be at least $1. The GOP wants the rule to move forward, while Democrats say it would impede access.

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