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Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chairman and Ranking Member (respectively) of the Senate Finance Committee, have fired the latest shot in Congress’s ongoing battle against high drug prices. Last week, the Senators introduced their much-anticipated proposal to lower drug prices: a chairman’s mark called the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act (PDPRA) of 2019.
This week, the Senate is expected to vote on a budget deal that would also suspend the debt limit for two years. This clears a major hurdle come September when both chambers of Congress will be in session with a laundry list of policies and programs to address, including appropriations.
This week, the House is set to vote on repeal of the Cadillac tax, which is a forty-percent tax on high-cost health plans established by the Affordable Care Act. While its prospects for passage in the Senate are not entirely clear, passage out of the House clears an important hurdle. In other news, we are continuing to monitor the evolving drug pricing debate which is still expected to ramp up in the coming weeks with action from the Administration and Senate.
This week, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is back in the news with oral arguments set to begin before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The court will decide whether to uphold a federal district court's ruling that struck down the ACA. This case has the potential to reshape the political landscape in 2020 if it reaches the Supreme Court. On Capitol Hill, policymakers are working hard to bring forth a drug pricing package before the August recess
This week, the House is poised to take action on drug pricing by passing two pieces of legislation. As the House moves the bills through final passage, focus will shift to the Senate, which will unveil a legislative package around lowering costs for consumers in the coming weeks. The scope of this package is still unclear, but it should include a number of proposals that could pass on a bipartisan basis. We cover this and more in this week's preview, which you can find by clicking here.
Following the two week recess, Congress is back in session and will have several high profile hearings this week. For starters, the Energy & Commerce Health subcommittee will continue reviewing prescription drug costs, this time focusing in on Medicare. In the Rules Committee, which does not typically host high profile hearings, they will hold the first committee hearing on H.R. 1384, one of the "Medicare for All" proposals. 
This week, Congress will continue to look at lowering health costs. The House has been focused on both drug costs and overall health care costs, advancing packages to strengthen the individual market in addition to a series of bipartisan drug pricing bills.
This week, House Democrats are pressing forward with a health care package designed to lower drug costs and strengthen the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This package will provide a platform for Democrats to tout legislation that stabilizes the ACA or counteracts actions taken by the Administration. While this legislative package is sure to get a lot of attention following the Department of Justice announcement regarding Texas v. Azar, it's unclear how much support it will garner in the Senate.
In our first two Device Modernization series posts, we discussed FDA’s 510(k) modernization efforts and the proposed De Novo regulation. FDA has also had a heavy hand in legislative efforts to retool oversight of laboratory developed tests (LDTs) and other in vitro diagnostics (IVDs). The proposed approach would create an entirely new category of medical product separate from medical devices known as in vitro clinical tests (IVCTs).
On March 5, 2019, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced his resignation. The physician and venture capitalist, ​for whom this was ​a second stint at the FDA, intends to leave the agency in about a month to spend more time with his family. In this post, Aaron Josephson reflects on Dr. Gottlieb's time leading the FDA and its future after his departure.
As Congress continues its oversight of prescription drug prices, the Senate Finance Committee will also examine abuse and neglect at nursing homes. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives is looking at ways to lower health care costs as it keeps it eye on lowering drug costs as well. The focus and intensity around drug pricing is not expected to diminish anytime soon.
On Tuesday, executives from seven of the largest pharmaceutical companies testified before the Senate Finance Committee on rising prescription drug prices. While the hearing was expected to be packed with fireworks as Senators of both parties grilled the nation's top pharmaceutical executives, it was largely uneventful. 
In our first Device Modernization series post, we discussed how FDA is proposing to modernize the 510(k) review program. FDA also recently issued a proposed regulation for the De Novo program and linked that proposed regulation to 510(k) modernization efforts as part of a broader strategy to improve device safety.
This week, Congress will dive into rising prescription drug costs with a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee. The hearing will feature seven top drug manufacturer executives and will focus on rising drug prices and transparency, among other topics.
In our “FDA 2018 Year in Review (and a Few Thoughts on 2019)” post and recent webinar, we observed that we may look back at 2018 as the beginning of the end for the 510(k) program as it has existed since the 1976 Medical Device Amendments to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The 510(k) pathway has been scrutinized for years and among the most damning criticisms leveled against it is that it is a loophole that lets unsafe products on the market by allowing manufacturers to, in most cases, avoid clinical testing.
Congress and the Administration are staring down the prospect of another government shutdown, with talks breaking down over the weekend on a border funding deal. Democrats in the House continue to aggressively pursue drug pricing legislation, and are also touting reforms to the ACA to counteract actions taken by the Administration.
Mintz/ML Strategies’ 4th Annual Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Industry Summit has been scheduled for Thursday, May 2, 2019 – mark your calendars!
This week, we explore the Administration's proposed rule related to AKS safe harbors and what it means for the drug pricing debate. On Capitol Hill, Democrats in both chambers are beginning to examine behaviors by various companies in an effort to drive home the need for additional oversight. It's clear that drug pricing is going to be a hot topic for this Congress. What's unclear is whether both sides can find consensus in proposals that lower drug costs
The shutdown fight is over for now and Congress is ready to get the work of the 116th Congress underway. This week, there will be four relevant hearings to health care stakeholders, two of which will center around prescription drug pricing. The other two will look at pre-existing conditions and community health center related policies. On the regulatory side, we wait and see if the Administration will be putting forth any regulations in this space, in particular the discount safe harbor rule.

Arizona 1115 Medicaid Waiver Update

January 22, 2019| Blog

In 2014, Arizona expanded Medicaid to the new adult group. Following the expansion, Arizona submitted, and CMS approved, an 1115 waiver extension to create the Choice, Accountability, Responsibility, Engagement (CARE) program.
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