Idaho is still seeking a way to get its state's health insurance plans approved by CMS; a new poll finds that support for action on drug pricing dips when potential ramifications are weighed; senators seek information on hospitals' use of 340B drug discounts.
Idaho insurance head Dean Cameron and Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, met with CMS chief Seema Verma in Washington this week to see if there is still a way around the state’s controversial plan to skirt Affordable Care Act (ACA) rules, The Hill reported. The Trump administration has blocked the plan, saying that it contained measures that violated the ACA, such as allowing people with pre-existing conditions to be charged more. Cameron said that perhaps a discount might be given to healthy people instead.
A POLITICO—Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health poll finds bipartisan support for the idea of drastic government action on drug prices. Nine out of 10 favor giving Medicare the power to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical manufacturers, but that support falters when Americans face possible negative trade-offs, Politico reported. Support fell to 42% when respondents weighed the risk that some drug companies might respond by halting the sale of certain drugs to seniors. And although 80% favored limiting the price of drugs sold to state health programs, only 38% still liked the idea if it meant less research and development.
Senators moved closer to joining the House of Representatives to push hospitals to report how they use 340B drug discounts, Modern Healthcare reported. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, said he wants to know where hospitals and clinics are applying the drug discounts, how much of the discounts go to patients, and which kinds of programs the providers are funding for patients with the money that isn't directly passed on. It’s the first time senators have gotten involved in the lobbying dispute between the pharmaceutical industry and hospitals.