Hospitals are furious about cuts to an outpatient drug discount program. Photo: Gerry Broome / AP

Three hospital lobbying groups — the American Hospital Association, America's Essential Hospitals and the Association of American Medical Colleges — are suing the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services after the agency finalized a rule Wednesday that would drastically cut outpatient drug payments under the federal 340B drug discount program.

The big picture: The Trump administration is siding with the pharmaceutical industry, doctors and some independent researchers who have argued hospitals are abusing the 340B drug program by pocketing profits that are meant to lower the costs of drugs for poor patients. But many hospitals of last resort are at risk of losing millions of dollars, which spurred the federal suit.

The details: Hospitals that participate in the 340B program currently receive 6% on top of the drug's average sales price. Starting next year, they will get the average sales price minus 22.5%. That will result in $1.6 billion in cut payments to hospitals.

The finalized policy is the same as what was proposed over the summer, but some experts believed CMS would backpedal and keep the status quo. There's still a chance the drug payment cuts could be avoided if the courts issue an injunction.

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20 Republican former U.S. attorneys endorse Biden, call Trump "a threat to the rule of law"

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Twenty Republican former U.S. Attorneys on Tuesday endorsed Joe Biden while saying that "President Trump's leadership is a threat to rule of law" in the U.S., the Washington Post reports.

What they're saying: In the letter, the former prosecutors criticize Trump's use of the Department of Justice, saying the president expects the DOJ to "to serve his personal and political interests."

  • "He has politicized the Justice Department, dictating its priorities along political lines and breaking down the barrier that prior administrations had maintained between political and prosecutorial decision-making," the letter says.
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Ted Cruz defends GOP's expected return to prioritizing national debt

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told "Axios on HBO" on Monday that he wishes reining in the national debt was a higher priority for President Trump.

Why it matters: Trump pledged during the 2016 campaign to reduce the national debt and eliminate it entirely within eight years, though he also deemed himself "the king of debt" and said there were some priorities that required spending. In the fiscal year that ended in September, the deficit reached a record $3.1 trillion.