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Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, center, speaks during a news conference in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on July 28, 2021. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Providers can breathe a sigh of relief: Congress isn't planning on repurposing unspent money from the pandemic provider relief fund, at least not yet.

Driving the news: The White House finally reached an infrastructure deal with a bipartisan group of senators yesterday, paid for in part with health care policies.

  • Providers have been warning that they wouldn't be happy if the remaining provider bailout money was used to pay for bridges and roads.
  • Hospitals in particular would have been an unwelcome opponent for advocates of the infrastructure package, which will already have a tough time getting across the finish line.

Between the lines: Hospitals may have been the most powerful industry group awaiting the list of infrastructure pay-fors, but pharmacy benefit managers may be the bigger winners.

  • The proposal delays the Trump administration's rebate rule, which would force prescription drug discounts to occur at the pharmacy counter — a massive disruption to PBMs' business model.
  • Democrats will likely try to fully repeal the regulation in a partisan package down the road.

What we're watching: The infrastructure proposal also includes savings from reducing what Medicare spends on unused drugs that are left over from single-use vials.

  • This may sound like a niche policy, but drugmakers stand to lose money from it, and thus probably won't like it.

Go deeper

Pharmaceutical industry may avoid big losses in drug pricing deal

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The pharmaceutical industry is voicing opposition to the latest drug pricing deal.

Yes, but: The details matter. And the details as they stand suggest drug companies would still retain the power to set prices, and most drugs wouldn't be subject to government price negotiations.

Democrats reach drug-pricing deal

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer addresses reporters on Tuesday. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Tuesday that Democrats have reached a deal on lowering Medicare prescription drug prices — an omission that had stalled support for President Biden's $1.75 trillion social spending plan.

Why it matters: Democrats have run on lowering drug prices for years. If the agreement is finalized, it'll allow them to tell voters that they've fulfilled their promise.

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology

Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Microsoft announced Tuesday it plans to acquire video game giant Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion in cash.

Why it matters: The move comes as Activision Blizzard has faced a wave of accusations of workplace harassment.