A pharmacist fills a prescription. Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg / UIG via Getty Images

Lobbyists with the pharmacy benefit management industry met with federal officials last month, warning that Medicare Part D premiums will rise by 22% in 2019 if the government pursues an idea that would lower what Medicare patients pay for medications at the pharmacy counter.

Why it matters: PBMs and other companies that sell Medicare drug plans dislike the proposal, which would require them to apply rebates and fees at the point of sale as a way to make drugs cheaper, and a final ruling is expected soon.

The details: The meeting took place on Feb. 28, according to public records. Pharmaceutical Care Management Association CEO Mark Merritt and several other lobbyists affiliated with the PBM trade group attended.

Federal officials at the meeting included Joe Grogan, director of health programs at the White House's Office of Management and Budget, and numerous people with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the agency that proposed the policy in November.

Merritt said in an interview the meeting was "mostly on issues where we had common ground," like opioid prescribing. But he and others voiced their opposition to point-of-sale rebates and reminded officials that President Trump's own budget said the measure would raise costs by $42 billion over the next decade.

Between the lines: The rebate proposal is only in an information-gathering phase, and independent analyses suggest it would in fact lead to higher Medicare premiums. But the Trump administration is hunting for any ways to ease drug costs, and the rebate idea would be an easy way for people to feel relief when they pick up their prescriptions.

Go deeper: Inside a drug pricing contract.

Go deeper

Trump says he'll accept nomination at White House or Gettysburg

Trump at the 2016 Republican National Convention. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Monday that he'll deliver his speech accepting the Republican nomination for president at either the Gettysburg battlefield in Pennsylvania or at the White House.

The state of play: Republican National Convention planners are looking for a new venue for the president to deliver his acceptance speech after convention events were canceled in Jacksonville, Fla., due to coronavirus concerns.

2 hours ago - World

Lebanon's prime minister resigns in wake of deadly explosion

Protests in Beirut. Photo: Maxim Grigoryev/TASS via Getty

Lebanon's prime minister and cabinet have resigned amid massive protests in the aftermath of a deadly explosion in Beirut that killed more than 160 people, injured 6,000 and left roughly 250,000 homeless.

Why it matters: Protesters blame the incompetence of the ruling elite — widely viewed as corrupt — for the disaster. The unstable and deeply distrusted government will remain in place in a caretaker capacity until a new prime minister is selected.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Protests erupt in Belarus after "Europe's last dictator" claims election win

Protesters and riot police clash in Minsk, Belarus, on Sunday during a demonstration against President Alexander Lukashenko's claim of a landslide victory. Photo: Misha Friedman/Getty Images)

Riot police clashed with protesters in Belarus overnight after a government exit poll predicted Sunday President Aleksander Lukashenko, an authoritarian who has ruled the Eastern European country since 1994, had overwhelmingly defeated a pro-democracy opposition candidate.

Why it matters: It's a precarious moment for the former Soviet republic, where decades of repression and a complete disregard for the coronavirus pandemic threaten to topple "Europe's last dictator." Rights groups said at least one protester was killed and dozens more wounded in a "police crackdown," per AP.