Overnight Healthcare

Overnight Health Care: Trump meets with Pfizer CEO amid pricing push | Kentucky reinstates dental, vision Medicaid benefits | Spending by health lobby groups down in second quarter

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Welcome to Friday’s Overnight Health Care, where we can’t believe President Trump’s Helsinki press conference was only on Monday. There was also a ton of health care news this week, most notably on drug pricing, where we begin.


Trump meets with Pfizer CEO amid drug pricing campaign

After tweeting about Pfizer’s drug price hikes in the past, President Trump met with the company’s CEO.

Context: Last week, Trump threatened the company with retaliation last week for increasing the list prices of 40 drugs. Pfizer then announced it would pause the increases until Jan. 1, or until the administration’s “blueprint” on drug prices takes effect, whichever comes first.


Trump’s campaign against high drug prices is ramping up. The administration floated allowing importation of drugs to address price spikes this week, and posted a notice about an upcoming regulation on drug rebates.

“The President and his Administration look forward to continuing its work with Pfizer and other pharmaceutical companies to reform the policies that are driving up prescription drug prices for all Americans,” said Hogan Gidley, deputy White House press secretary.

They discussed the Administration’s “ongoing commitment to lowering prescription drug prices for American patients,” Gidley added.

Remember: The administration called the decision a win for American consumers, but it’s not actually a price drop. In late May, Trump was railing against high drug costs and predicted that drug companies would soon announce massive, voluntary price decreases. The company is returning prices to the levels they were when Trump made that pronouncement.

Read more here.


Officials detail progress on reuniting separated children with their parents

The Trump administration said in a court filing Thursday that it has reunited 364 immigrant children between the ages of 5 and 17 that have been separated from their parents at the border, one week before the deadline to complete the reunifications.

The administration said last week that it had identified 2,551 immigrant children who had been separated from their families at the border.

Officials said Thursday that they have identified 1,606 of the parents, and have interviewed and cleared 848 of them to be reunited with their children, according to the court filing.

A status hearing on the case is scheduled for later Friday afternoon in California.


Lobbying spending down in the second quarter of 2018.

Second quarter lobbying reports are due Friday at midnight. Here what some of the biggest names in health care spent on lobbying between April 1 and June 30.

  • AARP spent $2.2 million on lobbying, slightly down from the second quarter of 2017.
  • The American Medical Association spent $4.3 million, down by nearly $1 million from the same time last year.
  • PhRMA spent $5.5 million, down by nearly half a million from the second quarter of 2017.
  • Amgen spent $2.3 million, down from the $3.6 million it spent on lobbying in the second quarter of 2017.
  • Eli Lilly & Co. spent $1.5 million, half a million less than it spent in the second quarter of 2017.
  • America’s Health Insurance Plans spent $1.4 million, compared to $1.7 million in the second quarter of last year.


Kentucky reinstates dental, vision benefits in Medicaid

After an uproar over the cancellation of dental and vision benefits for around 500,000 Medicaid enrollees, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s (R) administration is reversing course.

Kentucky said it would reinstate the benefits.

Officials said they recognized that the work requirement program would “not begin as soon as we hoped,” and they wanted to avoid “a prolonged coverage gap.”

Democrats had denounced Bevin’s earlier move.

“In his haste to strip these services away from families across Kentucky, Governor Bevin gave no warning to patients or guidance to providers, resulting in chaos and reports of men, women, and children being denied access to the treatments they need – forced to walk away from appointments and scheduled procedures,” Rep. John Yarmuth, the only Democrat in the state’s congressional delegation, wrote to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar earlier this month.

Read more here.


Coming next week?

The White House Office of Management and Budget is reviewing a few potential major HHS regulations. They could be issued as soon as next week, though there is no timeline for OMB review.

  • A final rule on short-term insurance plans, which critics call “junk plans.”
  • An interim final rule on the ObamaCare risk adjustment program.
  • A proposed rule changing the federal anti-kickback law with regards to prescription drug rebates.


What we’re reading

The CEO of one of the largest health insurers in the U.S. explains the problem with healthcare in America (Business Insider)

The 2018 midterms are all about healthcare (The New Republic)

U.S. court rejects Allergan bid to shield patents through tribe deal (Reuters)


State by state

Connecticut’s ObamaCare insurers vary widely on rate proposals (Washington Examiner)

Ohio Republican AG Mike DeWine changed position on Medicaid expansion (PolitiFact)

Tags Donald Trump John Yarmuth

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