HEALTH CARE BRIEFING: Senate drug measures lower deficit, CBO says | Bloomberg Government – Bloomberg Government | Gmx Pharm

Senate Democrats’ tax, climate and drug pricing bill would reduce federal budget deficits by $102 billion over 10 years, the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office said.

The deficit narrowing is being driven in part by the lifting of a Trump-era restriction on prescription drug rebates, which netted $122 billion, and Medicare allowing the cost of high-priced drugs to be negotiated, netting $102 billion. The deal’s spending includes $31 billion for three years of Obamacare premium subsidies and a slew of clean energy tax breaks.

The CBO estimate is used both to sell legislation to the public and by the Senate chief official to determine whether the provisions comply with the chamber’s secretive budget rules. Read more from Erik Wasson.

  • Healthcare Savings: The typical U.S. family saves about $1,000 a year on health insurance costs, according to analysis released Thursday by the center-left group Third Way, with people receiving Obamacare coverage saving about $1,500 under the upcoming Democrats’ reconciliation package Save dollars per year. Read her analysis here.
  • Summary of the BGOV invoice: Senate Democrats reconciliation package

Investors Say Bill Wrongly Picks Favorites: Biotechnology investors say the Democrats’ drug pricing law will unfairly make biologics more valuable and tip future research dollars toward more expensive drugs. A group of investors that includes Peter Kolchinsky, founder of RA Capital, and Gaurav Gupta, founder of Ascendant BioCapital, told reporters Wednesday that if Democrats pass their drug pricing measures, small molecule drugs will lose out, reports Alex Ruoff .

The deal Democrats are considering will allow the US to negotiate lower rates from a list of the most expensive drugs for Medicare, with exemptions for small molecule drugs approved in the past nine years and biologics approved in the past 13 years became. Kolchinsky and his group of investors want Democrats to change their bill to exempt all drugs approved in the last 13 years.

Also on the radar of the legislature

Blunt error HHS response to monkeypox: The top Republican on the Senate Health Spending Committee has blasted HHS’ monkeypox response as partisan, leaving Republicans in the dark while the White House prepares to potentially ask for billions of dollars to respond to the outbreak. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) cited reports that public health officials have briefed Democratic leaders in Congress on a response plan and cost estimates, but Republicans Jeannie Baumann and Alex Ruoff are not reporting. Read the letter here.

Senators condemn ‘incompetence’ in organ transplant system: The organization, which oversees the connection of patients in need of organs with donors, needs to fix “gross mismanagement and incompetence,” the Senate Treasury chief said Ron Wyden (D-ore.). Senators raised concerns about the United Network for Organ Sharing and the nationwide network of transplant groups, saying their lack of oversight had caused mistakes that could have been made. Read more from Alex Ruoff.

The GOP’s Johnson says Medicare shouldn’t be an entitlement: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) called for the conversion of Medicare and Social Security entitlements into budget items that Congress debates annually, giving Democrats a strong line of attack as they aim to oust him in the November election. Steven T. Dennis has more.

Senators urged to support opioid drug treatments: A coalition of Ohio addiction advocates is urging Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) in support of legislation expanding prescriptions for drug-assisted treatment of opioid addiction. The groups want senators to co-sponsor the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act (HR 1384, p. 445), which the House passed in June. Read her letter here.

Biden signs abortion order

President Joe Biden predicted that the threat to abortion rights will drive people to vote in November’s midterm elections after voters in Kansas rejected an attempt to remove abortion protections from the state constitution.

The order, which Biden signed into law on Wednesday, directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to consider measures to help patients travel outside of their states with Medicaid funds for abortions. The measure is likely to be legally challenged by Conservatives. The Hyde Amendment prohibits Medicaid from paying for an abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or threatening the life of the mother. Read more from Jordan Fabian and Nancy Cook.


Regulatory and legal news

Long Covid Office aims to advance treatments: HHS is setting up a new long Covid office as part of a White House plan to better understand the condition. The new “Office of Long COVID Research and Practice” will report to the Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services, according to the White House National Research Action Plan on Long COVID released Wednesday. Read more from Jeannie Baumann.

Eli Lilly sells antibodies to healthcare providers: Eli Lilly plans to sell its Covid-19 antibody directly to healthcare providers, states and territories to keep the drug available even if US government funding and purchases dry up. Read more from Riley Griffin and Josh Wingrove.


  • Guidance on Covid isolation: Most Covid-19 patients continue to test positive beyond the CDC’s five-day isolation guidelines, but only about half of them are actually contagious, a small Boston study found. The results appeared in JAMA Network Open on Wednesday. Read more from Jeannie Baumann.
  • Employee retention in healthcare: Healthcare workers in New York state could receive up to $3,000 in awards under a state program launched Wednesday that aims to increase the workforce by 20% over five years. Keshia Clukey has more.

Black Pacific Islander women had the highest fetal death rates in 2020: Black, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander women continued to have the highest fetal death rates in 2020, according to a new report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. Read more from Ayanna Alexander.

AbbVie’s Humira Win Thwarts Antitrust Attacks: The Seventh Federal Court’s decision that AbbVie’s extensive patent portfolio covering its Humira arthritis treatment is not anticompetitive suggests antitrust challenges to such patent groups will not loosen the pharmaceutical industry’s grip on branded drugs. Read more from Kelcee Griffis.


  • Gender Confirmation Surgery: Transgender Medicaid beneficiaries in West Virginia can now turn to the state to pay for surgeries deemed medically necessary to treat gender dysphoria after a state federal court ruled that a blanket ban on such coverage is unconstitutional . Read more from Mary Anne Pazanowski.

Supported by Jeanie Bauman

To contact reporters on this story: Brandon Lee in Washington; Alex Ruf in Washington

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Giuseppe Macri at; Michaela Ross at

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