Sep 25, 2018

Congress' final opioids bill takes shape

Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Congress' final opioids legislation will expand Medicaid coverage for addiction treatment and will not include a Medicare provision the pharmaceutical industry has lobbied for, according to Modern Healthcare's Susannah Luthi.

The details: Per Modern Healthcare, the House and Senate have agreed to lift the so-called "IMD exclusion" in their final opioids package, which will allow federal Medicaid money to flow to more treatment centers.

  • The bill will include Sen. Rob Portman's relatively expansive proposal, lifting the exclusion not just for opioid abuse but for all forms of addiction.

The pharmaceutical industry lost its push to include changes to the Medicare program, perhaps as part of a compromise on drug prices.

  • Earlier this year, Congress voted to put the pharmaceutical industry on the hook for more of the costs seniors incur when they fall into Medicare's "donut hole." Drugmakers had been aggressively lobbying lawmakers to reverse that policy as part of the opioids bill.
  • Democrats blocked the measure, Modern Healthcare reports, but it will likely come back up as a standalone bill later this year.

Go deeper

Debate night: Candidates' last face-off before Super Tuesday

Sanders, Biden, Klobuchar and Steyer in South Carolina on Feb. 25. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders wanted to keep his momentum after winning contests in New Hampshire and Nevada, while former Vice President Joe Biden hoped to keep his own campaign alive. The other five candidates were just trying to hang on.

What's happening: Seven contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination were in Charleston, South Carolina, for the tenth debate, just days before the South Carolina primary and a week before Super Tuesday. They spoke, sometimes over each other, about health care, Russian interference in the election, foreign policy the economy, gun control, marijuana, education, and race.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

4 takeaways from the South Carolina debate

Former Vice President Joe Biden, right, makes a point during Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders listens. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The 10th Democratic debate was billed as the most consequential of the primary thus far, but Tuesday night's high-stakes affair was at times awkward and unfocused as moderators struggled to rein in candidates desperate to make one last splash before Saturday's primary in South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

The big picture: After cementing himself as the Democratic favorite with a sweeping win in Nevada, Sen. Bernie Sanders came under fire as the front-runner for the first time on the debate stage. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who will be on the ballot for the first time next Tuesday, was a progressive foil once again, but he appeared more prepared after taking a drubbing at the Nevada debate.

Coronavirus spreads to Africa as U.S. soldier in South Korea tests positive

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

A 23-year-old American soldier stationed at Camp Carroll in South Korea has tested positive to the novel coronavirus, as the outbreak spreads to more countries.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 80,000 others, mostly in mainland China. Public health officials confirmed Tuesday the U.S. has 57 people with the novel coronavirus, mostly those repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health