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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Hospitals are worried that the Democrats' plans to curb prescription drug costs could be the beginning of a slippery slope that ultimately cuts into their bottom lines, too.

Why it matters: Hospitals and drug companies aren't always allies, and hospitals aren't likely to lobby very hard solely on pharma's behalf. But the industry could become another powerful opponent for Democrats if its own profits are on the line.

State of play: House Democrats' signature drug pricing bill would only allow Medicare to negotiate the price of some drugs, but would also extend those prices into the private market.

Between the lines: Medicare already has broad power to decide how much it will pay hospitals, and hospitals aren't voicing concern about the same standard being applied to the drug industry.

  • But hospital prices are much higher for private insurance — and the industry is adamantly opposed to any policy that could threaten these rates.

What they're saying: Allowing government-negotiated drug prices to extend to the commercial market "sets a very bad precedent when you have real negotiation on the private sector side, whether it's in drugs or for other providers," Chip Kahn, president and CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals, told Axios.

  • "This sets a precedent that could lead to other public policy that might undermine private sector negotiation," he added.

Go deeper

Sep 22, 2021 - Health

Walgreens invests deeper in hospital specialty pharmacies

More hospitals are opening their own specialty pharmacies. Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Walgreens paid $970 million to increase its ownership of Shields Health Solutions — a company that helps hospitals run their own specialty pharmacies — from 23% to 71%.

Why it matters: Standard Walgreens pharmacies are ubiquitous throughout the country, but this deal will give Walgreens a bigger position in specialty pharmacies, which handle pricey medications for complex conditions and have become very lucrative.

Special Envoy for Haiti resigns over Biden deportations

Daniel Foote testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on May 26, 2016. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Special Envoy for Haiti on Wednesday resigned from his position, writing in his resignation letter obtained by PBS that he "will not be associated with the United States inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees."

Why it matters: Ambassador Daniel Foote's resignation comes amid heightened anger over the treatment of Haitian migrants and asylum-seekers living in a temporary encampment in Del Rio, Texas — especially after images surfaced of Border Patrol agents whipping at the migrants from horseback.

First-time homebuyers shrink as prices spike

Data: National Association of Realtors; Chart: Axios Visuals

Home sales cooled as prices continued to heat up in August.

Driving the news: The share of first-time existing homebuyers (29%) last month was the smallest in two years, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors.