What We're Reading: Anthem Partners with CVS; New Health Secretary Front Runner; Mixed Signals on Health Subsidy Deal

Anthem Teams With CVS to Start Its Own Pharmacy

Anthem announced on Wednesday that it will start its own business to manage prescripton drug plans by partnering with CVS Health, reported The New York Times. The insurance company said that it will begin its new business in 2020 after its contract with Express Scripts expires. Anthem is currently in the middle of a legal battle with Express Scripts over their claims that they have been overcharged. It is estimated that the savings from the new partnership will be around $4 billion a year, the majority of which will affect customers in the form of lower drug costs, the insurance company said.

Former Pharma Exec Being Eyed for Health Secretary

Alex Azar, a former pharmaceutical executive at Eli Lilly and George W. Bush administration official, is the front-runner to replace Tom Price as HHS secretary, reported Politico. Price resigned in September following reports that he spent over $1 million of taxpayer money on private and government planes for travel. Azar had spent the past decade in the drug industry until leaving the company in January. He has been a harsh critic of ObamaCare and voiced approval for GOP efforts to repeal and replace it.

Trump Gives Mixed Signals on Senate Deal to Fund Health Subsidies

President Trump expressed opposition to the bipartisan senate proposal that would stabilize health insurance markets on Wednesday, according to The New York Times. This opposition comes just a day after he appeared to give his blessing for the deal. The deal made on Tuesday will fund critical subsidies to insurers, which President Trump had cut off just days before, for 2 years. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later said that President Trump does not support the bill in its current form but indicated that changes could win him over.