Good morning ... Speaking as a guy who once slipped and wiped out on a banana peel while on a date — I'm talking legs in the air, landed on my back, fully cartoon-style — I strongly encourage you to read and take seriously this lesson on the very real menace of banana peels.
In the meantime, I have 981 words/<4 minutes of health care news for you. Watch your step.
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
The White House is preparing another big executive order on drug prices, Reuters scooped last night.
Between the lines: It's probably no coincidence that this threat is being floated just as the White House is trying to build support for the Senate Finance Committee's drug-pricing bill, despite Republican objections.
Sens. Ron Wyden and Chuck Grassley. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Finance approved the Grassley-Wyden bill yesterday, but the proceedings left no doubt that there are still stark divisions within the GOP over drug pricing, and more resistance than we're used to seeing on policies Trump supports.
The intrigue: Nine of the committee's 15 Republicans voted against the bill. All of the Democrats supported it, leading to a final vote of 19-9.
What's next: Pharma's best bet is probably to stop the Senate from passing anything.
The bottom line: “This bill is not anywhere near action on the floor,” Sen. John Cornyn said yesterday, per The Hill.
White House budget officials have signed off on Medicare’s 2020 outpatient and physician payment rules, meaning they should be publicly released in short order, Axios' Bob Herman notes.
What we’re watching: Whether Medicare continues to scrutinize inflated billing.
Why it matters: Hospital outpatient and physician services are a material part of the federal health budget, projecting to hit $140 billion in payments this year.
Much like their counterparts in Congress, Republican governors are not prepared to deal with the fallout if they finally succeed in persuading the courts to throw out the entire Affordable Care Act.
What they're saying, via the AP:
Blue states are somewhat more prepared, because they're more willing to pass their own versions of some of the ACA's coverage requirements, but it would still impossible for even the most motivated state to reconstitute the entire law.
My thought bubble: 🤯
The New York Times takes a step back from the lawsuits and criminal charges against opioid manufacturers to note that McKinsey, the consulting firm, also keeps coming up in those proceedings.
The big picture: Purdue Pharma and Johnson & Johnson both hired McKinsey to boost opioid sales.
Details: McKinsey advised one pharmaceutical company to “get more patients on higher doses of opioids," the Times reports, and to study ways of "keeping patients on opioids longer.”
Why it matters: One constant, in every lawsuit and criminal case, is that drugmakers were laser-focused on sales above all else — sometimes illegally, but sometimes just by treating the drugs like any other corporate sales project.
That sales-first mentality did not start or stop with opioids.
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