Overnight Health Care: GOP balks at Trump drug pricing plan | Trump officials' report details lack of health competition | Cases of polio-like illness on the decline, CDC says

Welcome to Monday's Overnight Health Care.

GOP senators have drawn a line where they disagree with President TrumpDonald John TrumpREAD: Transcript of James Comey's interview with House Republicans Klobuchar on 2020: ‘I do think you want voices from the Midwest’ Israel boycott fight roils Democrats in year-end spending debate MORE -- and it's over drug pricing reforms. Also today, the CDC has some slightly encouraging news about cases of a mysterious illness and the Trump administration has a new report about competition in health care.

We'll start with drug pricing:

 

GOP balks at Trump drug pricing plan

President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress are not quite on the same page when it comes to his plan to lower drug prices.

What's the issue? Trump in October proposed lowering some Medicare drug prices by tying them to lower prices paid in other countries. But that is far too close to price controls for many GOP lawmakers.

The reaction:

HHS says it's pushing forward: Asked if the administration intends to stand by the proposal, an HHS spokesperson said: "[We] absolutely intend to proceed."

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The department said Azar "welcomed" the opportunity to meet with GOP lawmakers on Thursday and "dispel some of the myths about the rule put forward by the industry that wishes to continue charging American patients more for their products."

Remember the history: A somewhat similar proposal under former President Obama in 2016 was ultimately withdrawn in the face of industry and congressional opposition. Backers of this proposal will be working to make sure it doesn't meet the same fate.

Read more about the GOP split here.

 

Trump administration report details lack of health competition

In what is essentially a wish list for the future, the Trump administration Monday released a report with over 50 recommendations for increasing competition in health care. Some actions could be taken by the administration, while others would require Congress to act. The report's bottom line: health spending is on the rise, and the administration said government regulations are getting in the way of consumer freedoms. The report was released by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury and Labor.

What did they recommend: Among some of the notable ideas, the report called for expanding the use of Health Savings Accounts. Some of the other requests included price transparency measures to let consumers make better-informed decisions about their treatments, and lifting the Affordable Care Act's restrictions on physician-owned hospitals.

Read the report here.

 

Ocasio-Cortez: 'Frustrating' that lawmakers oppose 'Medicare for all' while enjoying cheap government insurance

Incoming Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez had highest percentage of small donors in midterms: report Ocasio-Cortez eyeing Jeffries as 2020 target: report Hillicon Valley: Report accuses tech giants of hindering Russia probe | NAACP leads protest against Facebook | Trump, Congress head for clash on Huawei | Security panel clears T-Mobile, Sprint deal | Google plans B NYC expansion MORE keeps making waves on social media, including on health care, where she is a vocal proponent of Medicare for all.

"In my on-boarding to Congress, I get to pick my insurance plan. As a waitress, I had to pay more than TWICE what I'd pay as a member of Congress," Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter Saturday afternoon.

"It's frustrating that Congressmembers would deny other people affordability that they themselves enjoy. Time for #MedicareForAll," she added.

What to watch: Look for how hard Ocasio-Cortez and other progressive lawmakers push Democratic leadership for action and a vote on Medicare for all legislation next year.

Read more here.

 

Cases of polio-like illness on the decline, CDC says

Some good news about that rare, polio-like illness that's been affecting hundreds of children across the country: The number of cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) is now on the decline, according to federal officials.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday said the number of people under investigation for AFM peaked earlier this year, and will continue to decline for the remainder of the 2018.

So far in 2018, 134 cases of AFM have been confirmed in 33 states out of 299 cases reported to the CDC. This is an increase of 18 confirmed cases from the previous week, but most of the latest confirmed AFM cases occurred in September and October, the agency said.

AFM is considered rare, but its spread has alarmed public health officials. Over 90 percent of confirmed cases of AFM have been in children, and since 2014, AFM cases have occurred in 46 states and the District of Columbia, the CDC said.

Read more here.

 

What we're reading

Short-term insurance plans are enticing, low-cost alternatives for healthy people (The Washington Post)

The $21 trillion Pentagon accounting error that can't pay for Medicare-for-all, explained (Vox.com)

Trump administration peppers inboxes with plugs for private Medicare plans (The New York Times)

 

State by state

Medicaid expansion is early flashpoint for new Wisconsin governor (Associated Press)

Kansas House Republicans pick conservative leader who opposes Medicaid expansion (Wichita Eagle)

 

From The Hill's opinion page

There's a shortage of psychiatrists for those most in need

Data proves that Medicaid needs work requirements