By Peter Sullivan - 02/09/16 07:30 PM EST
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.
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 BurwellOvernight Healthcare: McConnell unveils new Zika package | Manchin defends daughter on EpiPens | Bill includes M for opioid crisis Insurance executives ask for changes to ObamaCare Obama meets with insurance CEOs on health law 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 CornynHow the White House got rolled on the Saudi-9/11 bill GOP leaders express reservations a day after 9/11 veto override McConnell opens door to changing 9/11 bill 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 AlexanderLamar AlexanderMcConnell: Cures bill a 'top priority' in lame-duck Lawmakers pledge push for cures bill in lame-duck Overnight Regulation: Lawsuits pile up against Obama overtime rule 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
ON TAP TOMORROW
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."
WHAT WE'RE READING:
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)
IN THE STATES:
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)
ICYMI FROM THE HILL:
Walgreens partners with White House to curb drug abuse http://bit.ly/1o1aYGh
White House launches Zika funding push: http://bit.ly/1LccObZ