Bob Herman Feb 7, 2017
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The Republican who wants to regulate the drug industry's middlemen

Matt Rourke / AP

Republican Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia does not like the pharmacy benefit management industry, and he and others in Congress are ready and willing to regulate those companies, which serve as middlemen in the drug supply chain. "There's several things that are going to be coming up," Collins told Axios Tuesday.

QuoteI truly believe the PBM industry is one of the most detrimental pieces of health care.

Looking ahead: Collins, who has been in touch with the new Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden, said he will reintroduce and add items to his 2015 bill that would have required greater transparency of the rebates, fees and costs tied to pharmacy benefit managers. Republican Morgan Griffith of Virginia also has sponsored legislation that would prohibit pharmacy benefit managers and other companies that sell Medicare Part D plans from reducing pharmacy claims retroactively.

Collins said Congress is turning up the heat after the EpiPen pricing backlash brought more attention to how pharmacy benefit managers get their cut of rising drug prices. "A lot of people assumed the big drug companies were just jacking up prices and manipulating the system. But you have to look at this other issue of the PBMs. It was sort of a hidden issue because they want to stay hidden," said Collins, who has received campaign funds from community pharmacists.

Why this matters: It's not clear any proposed legislation would significantly alter the business models of pharmacy benefit managers, who say they are innocent. But the growing list of political critics is an inauspicious sign for the industry, which is dominated by CVS, Express Scripts and UnitedHealth Group's OptumRx.

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Trump: Transgender people "disqualified" from the military

SecDef Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford. Photo: Andrew Harrer-Pool / Getty Images

President Trump late Friday issued an order disqualifying most transgender people from serving in the military.

"[T]ransgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria -- individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery -- are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances."

Why it matters: Anything short of an inclusive policy for transgender troops will be viewed as a continuation of the ban Trump announced on Twitter in August.

Haley Britzky 7 hours ago
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Both Bush and Obama also requested line item veto power

Donald Trump.
Photo: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Friday evening that to avoid having "this omnibus situation from ever happening again," he wants Congress to re-instate "a line-item veto."

Why it matters: This would allow him to veto specific parts of a bill without getting rid of the entire thing. Trump was deeply unhappy with the $1.3 trillion spending bill approved by Congress early Friday morning, but signed it anyway on Friday afternoon.