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PBM bill clears House Oversight

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Feb 7, 2024
Illustration of three prescription pill bottles made from stacks of coins, organized by ascending height.

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The House Oversight Committee found some bipartisan consensus on overhauling PBM payments Tuesday, advancing a measure that would use a flat fee instead of pegging payments to a percentage of a drug's cost.

Why it matters: The DRUG Act, which we wrote about in the fall, aims to remove an incentive for PBMs to favor drugs with high list prices.

  • But the Oversight Committee considered only the provisions within its jurisdiction covering the Federal Employee Health Benefits program.
  • Beyond overhauling payments, there are provisions that prohibit steering patients to pharmacies that are owned by PBMs and ban spread pricing.

Between the lines: The bill was approved 29–11.

  • Reps. Eric Burlison and Paul Gosar were the only GOP "no" votes, arguing that delinking was not the way to reduce drug price costs.
  • Nine Democrats voted against the bill, including Ranking Member Jamie Raskin.

Of note: Education and Workforce Chair Virginia Foxx supported the bill but expressed concern about having the federal government interfere in businesses' compensation for services. She also wants a CBO score on the legislation.

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