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The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the main drug industry trade group, has been pushing for changes to the way insurers pay for drugs — encouraging them to pay based on how effective they are for specific diseases and patients. Now, the group says it's more optimistic about getting the legislative and regulatory changes that would be needed, following its meeting with President Trump last month.

"It did come up," PhRMA president and CEO Stephen Ubl told reporters this morning after an event to promote the idea. He wouldn't talk in more detail about the Trump meeting, but he suggested the idea might be gaining traction as an alternative to having the government negotiate drug prices, as Trump has also suggested: "I do believe that people believe that this is a policy that enhances the private market and is a potential better route than government price setting."

Why it matters: The drug industry would much rather have the "value-based" payments as a way to make drugs more affordable, rather than government action. But there are barriers that would have to be removed, and Ubl says that probably will take a combination of congressional action and regulatory changes from the Food and Drug Administration. Ubl said the group is talking with members of Congress from both parties, but he also says a new FDA commissioner "will make a real difference."

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Trump considering order on pre-existing condition protections, which already exist

President Trump. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump announced on Friday he will pursue an executive order requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, something that is already law.

Why it matters: The Affordable Care Act already requires insurers to cover pre-existing conditions. The Trump administration is currently arguing in a case before the Supreme Court to strike down that very law — including its pre-existing condition protections.

Updated 16 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 19,266,406 — Total deaths: 718,530 — Total recoveries — 11,671,253Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 4,928,802 — Total deaths: 161,052 — Total recoveries: 1,623,870 — Total tests: 60,415,558Map.
  3. Politics: Trump says he's prepared to sign executive orders on coronavirus aid.
  4. Education: Cuomo says all New York schools can reopen for in-person learning.
  5. Public health: Surgeon general urges flu shots to prevent "double whammy" with coronavirus — Massachusetts pauses reopening after uptick in coronavirus cases.
  6. World: Africa records over 1 million coronavirus cases — Gates Foundation puts $150 million behind coronavirus vaccine production.

Trump says he's prepared to sign executive orders on coronavirus aid

President Trump. Photo: Jim watson/Getty Images

President Trump, speaking from a podium at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., on Friday announced that he is prepared to issue executive orders suspending payroll taxes and extending enhanced unemployment benefits through the end of 2020, and halting student loan interest and payments indefinitely.

Why it matters: The impending orders come after talks between the White House and Democratic leadership collapsed Friday afternoon. But Trump said he remains committed to striking a deal with Congress on a broader stimulus package before signing the orders.