Overnight Healthcare: Obama budget goes big on health

The White House is resurfacing some of its boldest healthcare proposals in its final budget wish list, which may mark its last chance to strengthen the Affordable Care Act.

The $4.1 trillion budget proposal is Obama's most expensive to date. It includes new ideas like enticing states to expand Medicaid and requiring drug companies to publicly disclose the costs of their research and development.

Some ideas – like making drug prices more transparent and increasing access to mental health and opioid addiction treatment – were widely praised. But plenty of the administration's proposals to trim Medicare costs have drawn sharp rebukes.

Hospital groups have blasted payment cuts to bad debt, long-term care hospitals and inpatient rehab facilities. The American Hospital Association said the cuts "would jeopardize hospitals' ability to keep the promise of maintaining access to vital health care services," while the Federation of American Hospitals blasted the cuts as "arbitrary" and "destabilizing."

The American Health Care Association targeted the cuts to Medicare payments for post-acute care providers – a decrease of about 3 percent over five years. "This bundling proposal is merely a rate cut, not a meaningful reform of our payment and delivery system," the group wrote in a statement. Read more here: http://bit.ly/1SGHMkH

PhRMA also criticized the budget for going "in the opposite direction" of innovation with "harmful and misguided proposals."

GOP LEADERS SKEPTICAL OF NEW ZIKA FUNDING: Senate Republicans on Tuesday expressed skepticism about providing new emergency funding to fight the Zika virus after receiving a briefing from administration officials.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia BurwellSylvia Mathews BurwellPrice was a disaster for HHS — Time for an administrator, not an ideologue Overnight Healthcare: GOP chairman to introduce pre-existing condition bill ObamaCare enrollment hits 11.5M for 2017 MORE and other top health officials came to Capitol Hill to brief top senators in both parties on Zika and make the case for $1.8 billion in emergency funding.  

But Republican leaders leaving the briefing pointed to existing funds, including leftover money appropriated to fight Ebola, as being available for the Zika response. They did not rule out an emergency funding bill, however.

Asked if he was skeptical of the new funding request, Sen. John CornynJohn CornynGOP senator: ObamaCare fix could be in funding bill Senate GOP running out of options to stop Moore Texas Republicans slam White House over disaster relief request MORE (Texas), the Senate's No. 2 Republican, said, "usually they come up with the request for money before they come up with a plan." Read more here. http://bit.ly/1O21m2l

SENATE PANEL SEEKS MOMENTUM ON MEDICAL INNOVATION BILLs: The Senate health committee on Tuesday advanced seven relatively narrow bipartisan bills around medical innovation, part of a strategy to build momentum for a larger, more controversial package.

Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderGOP senator: ObamaCare fix could be in funding bill Collins: Pass bipartisan ObamaCare bills before mandate repeal Murkowski: ObamaCare fix not a precondition for tax vote MORE (R-Tenn.) argued that the votes on Tuesday could improve the chances of broader legislation that would be a companion to the House-passed 21st Century Cures Act.

The House bill seeks to speed up the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) approval of new drugs and includes $8.75 billion over five years in new research funds for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The issue of NIH funding remains a key hurdle for the Senate health panel, as both parties acknowledge there are few offsets within the health committee's jurisdiction. http://bit.ly/1PjE10n


HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell testifies at the House Ways and Means Committee.

Vice President Biden will tour a lab and participate in a roundtable discussion at Duke University as part of his cancer "moonshot."


Obama targets drug spending in budget (Bloomberg)

Martin Shkreli's Wu-Tang album violates copyright, artist says (Bloomberg)

Farmer contractors balk at ObamaCare requirements (NPR)

Novartis sets heart-drug price with two insurers based on health outcome (Reuters)


Feds give Alabama go-ahead for Medicaid changes (Montgomery Advertiser)  

Florida expands state of emergency to seventh county over Zika (ABC7)

Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood to reopen next week (Fox31)


Walgreens partners with White House to curb drug abuse http://bit.ly/1o1aYGh

White House launches Zika funding push: http://bit.ly/1LccObZ

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