Overnight Health Care: Trump budget seeks savings through ObamaCare repeal | Trump would cut health department funds by 21 percent | Proposed changes to anti-drug office spark pushback
Trump budget seeks savings through ObamaCare repeal
The White House budget for fiscal 2019 seeks major savings by repealing ObamaCare and endorses a Senate GOP bill as the best way to do so.
“The Budget supports a two-part approach to repealing and replacing Obamacare, starting with enactment of legislation modeled closely after the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson (GCHJ) bill as soon as possible,” the White House said in its budget request.
The budget proposes over $90 billion in savings over 10 years if the Graham-Cassidy bill were enacted. Combined with other provisions like Medicaid changes, the White House projects there would be nearly $675 billion in savings over a decade tied to repealing ObamaCare.
But Republican leaders have signaled that they are not interested in diving back into the contentious ObamaCare repeal fight this year. The Senate last year failed to pass a repeal bill, and there is no indication that the votes have shifted since then.
Read more here.
Trump budget would cut health department by 21 percent
The Department of Health and Human Services would face an $18 billion cut under the budget proposal released by the Trump administration Monday, a 21 percent decrease from 2017.
Under the proposal, HHS would get $68.4 billion for the 2019 budget year.
Nearly every agency under HHS would see a funding cut. The exceptions would be the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Indian Health Service, which would all see modest increases.
The administration requested $10.9 billion for 2019 for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a cut of more than $1 billion.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration would face a reduction of $688 million cut, coming out to about $3.5 billion for 2019.
The Administration for Children and Families, which provides assistance to families in poverty, would get $15.3 billion, a decrease of nearly $4 billion.
However, NIH would get a boost of $1.4 billion in the proposal, with total funding of $35.5 billion for 2019.
That includes $750 million to NIH as part of a $10 billion HHS wide investment in fighting the opioid crisis.
More numbers here.
Trump budget proposes big changes to anti-drug office
The administration has justified the proposal in its budget, saying it “will enable ONDCP to focus resources on its core mission: to reduce drug use and its consequences by leading and coordinating the development, implementation and assessment of U.S. drug policy.”
Opponents argue the move would hamper the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) while the nation is in the middle of an opioid epidemic. They fear it would jeopardize the future of programs that help reduce substance abuse in youth and coordinate efforts to clamp down on drug trafficking.
Read more here.
ICYMI: OxyContin maker will stop marketing opioid products to doctors
The maker of the painkiller OxyContin will stop actively marketing its opioid products to doctors.
Purdue Pharmaceuticals announced that it would cut its sales staff by more than half and would stop sending sales representatives to doctor’s offices to discuss opioid products.
“We have restructured and significantly reduced our commercial operation and will no longer be promoting opioids to prescribers,” the company said in a statement.
Purdue also said it will start referring opioid-related requests and questions from prescribers to health-care professionals in its medical affairs department.
The move comes after a number of states filed lawsuits against Purdue, alleging that the company misled prescribers and patients about the risks of prescription opioids. The company denies the allegations.
Read more here.
McCain urges Trump to make good on promise to address high drug prices
Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) on Monday called on President Trump to make good on his promise to lower drug prices, writing that the problem “is only getting worse.”
The Trump administration has yet to take substantive action toward reducing the cost of prescription drugs despite promising to do so several times last year and in his State of the Union address last month.
“We write to urge you to make good on your promise and make fixing the problem of high drug prices a top priority for you and your administration,” the senators wrote in a letter to Trump.
McCain and Baldwin urged the administration to back their bill, which would require drug manufacturers to justify their pricing and provide a breakdown of expenses before increasing the costs of some medicines.
“This will provide taxpayers, consumers and policymakers with more information, including research and development, marketing and advertising costs,” the senators wrote.
Read more here.
What we’re reading
Analysis: Trump budget tries to address drug prices, but leaves list prices untouched (Stat News)
California launches Aetna probe after stunning admission (CNN)
A long era of low health care inflation may be coming to an end (Bloomberg)
State by state
Kentucky rushes to remake Medicaid as other states prepare to follow (The New York Times)
NC state employees could suffer under UNC Health Care deal, say state leaders (The News and Observer)
Nevada takes steps toward leaving federal healthcare.gov (Associated Press)
With a pharma exec running, New Jersey’s Senate race becomes a referendum on drug prices (Stat)
From The Hill’s opinion pages
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