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Scoop: Negotiators near deal on health provisions

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Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Negotiators are close to a deal that would include PBM reforms and some hospital price transparency requirements in the coming minibus, though sources caution that obstacles remain.

Why it matters: The last-ditch attempt to insert major health care provisions in the government spending package has gone further than previously thought.

Between the lines: The emerging deal would include the chairs and ranking members of the health committees in the House and Senate.

  • But Ways and Means Ranking Member Richard Neal is a holdout, and Education and Workforce Ranking Member Bobby Scott is a question mark, the sources said.
  • "There's no better time to move the ball forward on health care than this week as we prepare to celebrate the 14th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, and Ranking Member Neal looks forward to reviewing text before Sunday," Neal spokesperson Dylan Peachey told Axios.
  • House and Senate leadership has notably also not signed off, meaning the health provisions still face a tough path before a funding package is released as soon as this weekend.
  • There are a lot of sensitive non-health provisions already, and adding policy changes affecting major health care groups could prove to be too much of a headache for leadership.

What's inside: The emerging deal would likely include PBM reforms in Medicare and at least some changes that apply to the commercial market, as well as hospital price transparency measures, sources said.

  • There would also be more community health center funding, a top priority of Senate HELP Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, as well as additional provisions.

Reality check: There's still skepticism over whether all of these provisions can be folded into the minibus, but the renewed effort shows that most key players are determined not to punt the issues to a lame duck session.

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