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Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — House Dems change drug pricing bill to address progressive concerns | Top Republican rejects Dem proposal on surprise medical bills | Vaping group launches Fox News ad blitz

Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — House Dems change drug pricing bill to address progressive concerns | Top Republican rejects Dem proposal on surprise medical bills | Vaping group launches Fox News ad blitz
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Welcome to Overnight Health Care.

House Democrats are charging ahead with markups on their signature drug pricing bill, but not without some changes first.  A new study purports to show how much a single payer health system will really cost, and the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee is getting pushback on his plan to solve surprise medical billing. 

We'll start with drug pricing: 

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House Democrats change drug pricing bill in bid to address progressive concerns

Get ready for a long day of drug pricing markups tomorrow...

Ahead of the markups in the House Energy and Commerce and House Education and Labor committees, Democratic leaders made some changes to the bill, shifting it slightly to the left in an effort to address progressive concerns.  

The main changes: 

  • Increase minimum number of drugs to be negotiated from 25 to 35 drugs. 
  • Require negotiation on some newly launched drugs if their prices are more than the median U.S. household income. 

Big picture: The measure is expected to pass the House later this month or early next month, though there are still concerns from some lawmakers on both the progressive side and centrist side. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden backs 0B compromise coronavirus stimulus bill US records over 14 million coronavirus cases On The Money: COVID-19 relief picks up steam as McConnell, Pelosi hold talks | Slowing job growth raises fears of double-dip recession | Biden officially announces Brian Deese as top economic adviser MORE (R-Ky.) has vowed to kill the bill in the Senate, calling it "socialist."

Splits among progressives: Not all progressives reacted in the same way to the changes. 

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Rep. Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff SchakowskyHillicon Valley: GOP chairman says defense bill leaves out Section 230 repeal | Senate panel advances FCC nominee | Krebs says threats to election officials 'undermining democracy' Schakowsky to introduce bill to limit reach of tech liability shield Overnight Health Care: CDC panel recommends who gets vaccine first | McConnell offering new relief bill | Hahn downplays White House meeting on vaccines MORE (D-Ill.), a member of the progressive caucus and an ally of Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden backs 0B compromise coronavirus stimulus bill US records over 14 million coronavirus cases On The Money: COVID-19 relief picks up steam as McConnell, Pelosi hold talks | Slowing job growth raises fears of double-dip recession | Biden officially announces Brian Deese as top economic adviser MORE (D-Calif.), appeared to be won over by the changes, as she released a statement endorsing the bill on Tuesday night.

But Rep. Lloyd DoggettLloyd Alton DoggettCongress must repeal tax breaks for the wealthy passed in CARES Act Ocasio-Cortez, progressives call on Senate not to confirm lobbyists or executives to future administration posts Trump order on drug prices faces long road to finish line MORE (D-Texas), who has been one of the most outspoken in pushing the bill in a more progressive direction, is not satisfied. 

"Congressman Doggett is still vigorously pursuing substantial improvements to strengthen the bill," a Doggett spokesperson said.

Read more here

 

 

Top Republican rejects Dem chairman's approach to stopping surprise medical bills

The effort to protect patients from surprise medical bills is not exactly smooth sailing right now.

The latest twist: Rep. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyRaising the required minimum distribution age for America's seniors On The Money: Biden, Democratic leaders push for lame-duck coronavirus deal | Business groups shudder at Sanders as Labor secretary | Congress could pass retirement bill as soon as this year Top Democrat: Congress could pass retirement bill as soon as this year MORE (R-Texas), the top Ways and Means Republican, rejected a proposal from Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealHoyer releases 2021 House calendar A need for reauthorization of the Elder Justice Act Biden names Janet Yellen as his Treasury nominee MORE (D-Mass.). 

"I think we ought to go back to the drawing board rather than pursue that," Brady told reporters. 

Neal proposed late last month to essentially punt the problem to a committee of stakeholder groups and administrative agencies to come up with a solution. That proposal drew criticism even from some Democrats as not addressing the problem directly, but Neal said at the time that he was "optimistic" Brady would support it. 

Now, Brady is rejecting Neal's idea. 

What now? The surprise billing effort seems stalled. While all sides say they agree the problem should be addressed, there are a range of rival proposals on how and no clear path forward at the moment. 

Read more here

 

Vaping industry group launches Fox News ad campaign 

The Vapor Technology Association is launching an advertising blitz to try and convince President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE not to move ahead with his proposal to ban flavored e-cigarettes. 

The organization is placing a one-week, six-figure buy that covers Fox News programming throughout the day, including Fox & Friends, which the president has been known to watch and tweet about.

Last month, President Trump announced from the Oval Office that he was instituting a total ban on all e-cigarette flavors except tobacco until the companies can clear the Food and Drug Administration's strict regulatory requirements. 

However, the ads don't fault Trump at all. Instead, they praise Trump for keeping his promises on making sure government agencies follow the law, and blame nameless "bureaucrats" for the proposal.

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"Despite President Trump's efforts, bureaucrats are considering a huge new overreach: they're considering banning flavored vapor," the narrator says in the 30-second ad. "Vaping is at least 95 percent safer than smoking. But if the government bans flavored vapor, 150,000 jobs -- gone. Millions will resort to cigarettes or the black market."

The ads, which will also run online, are expected to begin Thursday. 

 

New study: Full-scale 'Medicare for All' costs $32 trillion over 10 years

After a fierce Democratic debate on health care on Tuesday night, there's some new numbers on the issue. 

From the Urban Institute:

  • Full scale Medicare for All costs $32.01 trillion over 10 years, saves households $886 billion and covers 32 million more people. 
  • A public option available to all would cost $1.3 trillion over 10 years.  Uninsured would fall from 32.2 million to 6.6 million people. All of the remaining uninsured would be people in the country illegally. 

Politics: The full-scale plan is close to what Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSchwarzenegger says he would 'absolutely' help Biden administration Disney chair says he would consider job in Biden administration if asked Despite veto threat, Congress presses ahead on defense bill MORE (D-Mass.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersFormer Sanders press secretary: 'Principal concern' of Biden appointments should be policy DeVos knocks free college push as 'socialist takeover of higher education' The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Capital One — Giuliani denies discussing preemptive pardon with Trump MORE (I-Vt.) are proposing, while the public option is close to Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegJuan Williams: Clyburn is my choice as politician of the year 'Biff is president': Michael J. Fox says Trump has played on 'every worst instinct in mankind' Buttigieg: Denying Biden intelligence briefings is about protecting Trump's 'ego' MORE and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE.

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Whether to go full scale, with higher government costs, is a central aspect of the debate. 

Read more here

 

 

What we're reading

J&J offers $4 billion opioid litigation settlement (Wall Street Journal)

High-profile trial over who should pay for the opioid crisis begins (Washington Post)

Book: Trump mulled order to close parts of VA health system (Associated Press

 

State by state

Oklahoma judge says he miscalculated award by $107 million in opioid case (Associated Press)

Surprise settlement in Sutter Health antitrust case (Kaiser Health News)

California to provide financial boost to help buy health coverage (California Healthline

 

From The Hill's opinion page: 

Applause for Sesame Street -- it shows children that addiction is a disease and not a moral failing