Three centrist Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce committee on Sept. 15 voted down language in a bill that would have enabled Medicare to negotiate drug prices. Reps. Scott Peters (Calif.), Kathleen Rice (N.Y.) and Kurt Schrader (Ore.) joined the committee’s Republicans to keep the measure from advancing. Committee Chair Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) made several public appeals in favor of drug price negotiation to the trio, who according to Politico all voted in favor of Medicare price negotiation in 2019. Despite the setback, price negotiation is far from dead, according to James Gelfand, executive vice president of public affairs at the ERISA Industry Committee. “My understanding is that the bill can be completely rewritten in the Rules Committee if need be,” Gelfand tells AIS Health via email. He adds that Democratic leaders “have to offer something to Rice…I don’t know exactly what yet. But they cannot afford to blow a $5-600 billion hole in the bill before it gets to the Senate.”

After a plan member filed suit against CVS Health Corp.’s Aetna, accusing the payer of discriminating against LGBTQ+ members in fertility care reimbursement, the health plan announced plans to change its coverage. According to the National Women’s Law Center (NWLF), whose lawyers filed the complaint, “the suit alleges that Aetna’s policy for coverage of IVF and IUI fertility treatments unfairly discriminates against LGBTQ couples by requiring them to pay out of pocket for 12 cycles of IUI before Aetna will provide them with coverage.” NWLF told Modern Healthcare that “we are pleased to learn that there is interest in resolving the matter.”

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