President Trump and CMS administrator Seema Verma. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Trump administration announced Wednesday more changes designed to make Medicare Advantage more appealing and to lower prescription drug costs for seniors.

Why it matters: Although the proposal mainly tinkers around the edges, it could have a meaningful impact on some seniors' pocketbooks while furthering the administration's commitment to Medicare Advantage, a cash cow for insurers.

Details: The proposal aims to create more transparency within Medicare's prescription drug benefit, and to enhance price competition.

  • Beginning in 2022, plans would be required to give beneficiaries tools to compare the out-of-pocket costs of different drugs, which would allow patients to know their drug costs ahead of time and to shop around for the cheapest medications.
  • The proposal also aims to create more price competition among specialty drugs, which tend to be the most expensive drugs on the market.

It also would allow all seniors with end-stage renal disease to enroll in Medicare Advantage, beginning in 2021.

  • Medicare Advantage beneficiaries this year are gaining access to telehealth benefits that aren't available to seniors enrolled in traditional fee-for-service Medicare, and the new proposal would build on these benefits.

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Photo: Xinhua/Ting Shen via Getty Images

The Senate voted 51-48 on Sunday to advance the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, setting up a final confirmation vote for Monday.

Why it matters: It's now virtually inevitable that the Senate will vote to confirm President Trump's third Supreme Court nominee before the election, which is just nine days away.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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