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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

19 mins ago - World

Israel to approve new construction in West Bank settlements

Bennett (L) and Biden discussed the settlements issue. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty

Israel will approve the construction of 4,400 new homes in the West Bank next week: 3,10o in the Jewish settlements and 1,300 in Palestinian villages.

Why it matters: This will be the first time Israel has approved new settlement building since President Biden assumed office, and it's the first time since 2007 that it approves a significant number of new homes for Palestinians in "Area C" of the West Bank, which is controlled by Israel.

House votes to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress

Steve Bannon. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

The House of Representatives voted 229-202 on Thursday to hold former Trump strategist Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena from the Jan. 6 select committee.

Why it matters: The Justice Department will now consider bringing criminal charges against Bannon, marking a significant escalation in the Jan. 6 committee's efforts to enforce subpoenas against Trump allies who refuse to cooperate.

Biden: Jan. 6 Capitol riot "was about white supremacy"

President Biden speaks during the 10th anniversary celebration of the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial with Vice President Harris in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 21. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden said Thursday that white supremacy motivated rioters who carried out the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Driving the news: "The violent, deadly insurrection on the Capitol nine months ago, it was about white supremacy, in my opinion," Biden said at an event commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington.

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