Good morning … Mark your calendars and join Axios on Wednesday morning as Mike Allen sits down with Sens. Lamar Alexander, Bill Cassidy and Tim Kaine to talk about what's next in health care. You can RSVP here.
President Trump's decision to cut off the Affordable Care Act's cost-sharing reduction subsidies doesn't seem to have added much new urgency to the push to stabilize states' insurance markets — which would likely include a guarantee to keep the subsidy payments flowing.
Yes, but: Affecting 2018 premiums will be a tough task — the window to begin signing up for 2018 coverage begins in two weeks.
One more problem: Even if a deal is struck, and it could muster 60 votes in the Senate, there's a very real question of how it passes. Voting on the bill by itself, without being part of a larger package, would be difficult for Republicans. Most legislation that needs to get passed before the end of the year is expected to be clumped into one big bill in early December.
Rep. Tom Marino — Trump's nominee to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy — is facing sharp criticism in the wake of The Washington Post's investigation into a 2016 law that critics say made it harder for federal officials to crack down on opioids. Marino was a leading proponent of that bill, the Post reported.
The other side: Separate from the Marino controversy, the Post's investigation is generating some pushback:
Apple is apparently looking for ways to branch out into health care — specifically, primary care. CNBC reports that Apple explored buying Crossover Health, a company that helps run clinics for large, self-insured employers (including Apple). It was also in talks with the nationwide primary care organization One Medical, according to CNBC.
Why now? Apple has positioned its smartwatch and the iPhone for broader health tracking uses and, as CNBC notes, the company has hired a slew of top health care talent recently.
Trump covered a lot of health care ground yesterday, in public remarks during a Cabinet meeting and then following a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Here's what he said — and some reality checks:
"Obamacare is finished. It's dead. It's gone. It's no longer — you shouldn't even mention. It's gone. There is no such thing as Obamacare anymore. It is — and I said this years ago: It's a concept that couldn't have worked. In its best days it couldn't have worked."
"I knocked out the CSRs; that was a subsidy to the insurance companies…And the gravy train ended the day I knocked out the insurance companies' money, which was last week. Hundreds of millions of dollars a month handed to the insurance companies for very little reason, believe me. I want the money to go to the people."
"Republicans are meeting with Democrats because of what I did with the CSR, because I cut off the gravy train. If I didn't cut the CSRs, they wouldn't be meeting."
"Prescription drug prices are out of control…They're setting prices in other countries and we're not. The drug companies, frankly, are getting away with murder."
"We're going to have a major announcement, probably next week, on the drug crisis and on the opioid massive problem."
Another attempt at a large-scale health care bill will "come up in the early- to mid-part of next year. We're going to have a vote."
Per custom in the health care industry, Johnson & Johnson and UnitedHealth Group kick off the earnings season this morning. Axios' Bob Herman flagged a few things to watch for Q3:
What we're watching today: Senate HELP Committee hearing on drug prices.
What we're watching this week: The Senate's appetite for ACA stabilization.
The House is still trying to reach a bipartisan agreement on extending the Children's Health Insurance Program, though it doesn't seem to be going well so far.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce holds a health care event Wednesday.
HELP hearing Thursday on how healthier people = a better health care system.
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