From The Hill

Five Health Care Fights to Watch in 2020

December 30, 2019

Advocates hope lawmakers can beat the odds and move major health care legislation in the new year.

2019 opened with bipartisan talk of cracking down on drug prices and surprise medical bills. But it ended without major legislation signed into law on either front, and a host of other health care battles, including a lawsuit threatening the entire Affordable Care Act, looming over the coming election year.

Advocates hope lawmakers can beat the odds and move major health care legislation in the new year.

2019 opened with bipartisan talk of cracking down on drug prices and surprise medical bills. But it ended without major legislation signed into law on either front, and a host of other health care battles, including a lawsuit threatening the entire Affordable Care Act, looming over the coming election year.

Here are five health care fights to watch in 2020….

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Trump’s FDA Nominee Approved by Senate Panel

December 3, 2019

President Trump’s nominee to head the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared a key Senate panel Tuesday with bipartisan support.

If confirmed by the full Senate, cancer doctor and researcher Stephen Hahn would join the FDA at a challenging time: The agency is facing pressure from all sides on how to curb youth vaping rates, with some pushing for a ban on flavored e-cigarette products.

President Trump’s nominee to head the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared a key Senate panel Tuesday with bipartisan support.

If confirmed by the full Senate, cancer doctor and researcher Stephen Hahn would join the FDA at a challenging time: The agency is facing pressure from all sides on how to curb youth vaping rates, with some pushing for a ban on flavored e-cigarette products.

Hahn, the chief medical officer of MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, hasn’t weighed in on specific proposals but has called teen e-cigarette use concerning.

The Senate health committee approved Hahn’s nomination 18-5, with top Democrat Patty Murray (Wash.) voting ‘no….’

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Trump Officials Making Changes to Signature Drug Pricing Proposal, Azar Says

November 13, 2019

Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar on Wednesday said that the administration is changing one of its main proposals to lower drug prices because President Trump wants to go further.

The Trump administration last year proposed lowering certain Medicare drug prices by tying the prices to lower prices paid in other developed countries, an idea known as the International Pricing Index.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar on Wednesday said that the administration is changing one of its main proposals to lower drug prices because President Trump wants to go further.

The Trump administration last year proposed lowering certain Medicare drug prices by tying the prices to lower prices paid in other developed countries, an idea known as the International Pricing Index.

Under the original proposal, prices would still have been lower than they are now, but would still be a certain percentage higher than they are in other countries. Trump was not satisfied with that idea, Azar said Wednesday, and wanted the proposal changed so that prices in the United States are even lower than they are in other countries. “What we suggested was reducing that 180 percent premium [above other countries] by 30 percent,” Azar said at an event hosted by Axios. “The president did not find that satisfactory. His view, which he has articulated publicly, is that America ought to be getting the best deal among developed countries. That was the terminology of ‘most favored nation status.’ And so that’s the type of proposal we’re working on….”

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First Major ‘Medicare for All’ Hearing Sharpens Attacks on Both Sides

June 12, 2019

Supporters of “Medicare for All” notched a victory Wednesday when one of Congress’s most powerful committees debated the progressive proposal, but the venue also gave Republicans an opportunity to paint proponents as socialists.

Democrats and Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee were at odds with each other, and at times with the lively audience of Medicare for All advocates, over how to pay for a program that’s estimated to cost in the tens of trillions of dollars.

Supporters of “Medicare for All” notched a victory Wednesday when one of Congress’s most powerful committees debated the progressive proposal, but the venue also gave Republicans an opportunity to paint proponents as socialists.

Democrats and Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee were at odds with each other, and at times with the lively audience of Medicare for All advocates, over how to pay for a program that’s estimated to cost in the tens of trillions of dollars.

It was the first time a congressional committee with jurisdiction over health care issues has held a hearing on the proposal, following two events hosted by the Rules and the Budget committees earlier this year.

“This is a historic step in the process of recognizing health care as a human right,” said Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), co-chair of the House’s Medicare for All Caucus, at a press conference….

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CBO: Medicare for All Gives ‘Many More’ Coverage but ‘Potentially Disruptive’

May 22, 2019

Experts from Congress’s nonpartisan budget office testified Wednesday that a single-payer health care system would result in “many more” people with health insurance but would also be “potentially disruptive” and increase government control.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) experts made the remarks at the second hearing on a single-payer, “Medicare for All” system that House Democrats have held this year, this time at the House Budget Committee.

Experts from Congress’s nonpartisan budget office testified Wednesday that a single-payer health care system would result in “many more” people with health insurance but would also be “potentially disruptive” and increase government control.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) experts made the remarks at the second hearing on a single-payer, “Medicare for All” system that House Democrats have held this year, this time at the House Budget Committee.

“Many more people would probably have health insurance as a result but the government would take much more control over the health care system,” said CBO deputy director Mark Hadley.

He noted that because health care represents around one-sixth of the economy, “those changes could significantly affect the overall U.S. economy” and be “potentially disruptive….”

Read the full The Hill article