White House officials are finalizing a handful of health care regulations, which means the rules will be released in short order.
The bottom line: These rules represent some of the biggest changes to the health care industry under the Trump administration.
What we're watching:
- Drug rebate rule. Arguably the most important, this regulation would require drug pricing rebates between drugmakers and middlemen in Medicare and Medicaid to go toward patients’ costs at the pharmacy counter. Health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers would be protected from losses for 2 years, and premiums for many drug plans would go up by a lot.
- Dialysis payments to third parties. The Obama administration first took aim at stopping dialysis companies from donating money to kidney disease charities as a way to pay for patients' private health insurance premiums, shifting those people off lower-paying government programs. After a judge blocked the rule for skipping the normal regulatory process, this rule likely will shoot for the same goal — and dialysis companies will lobby against it.
- Potential changes to kickback laws. This is less a rule and more an invitation to hospitals and doctors to rewrite "federal fraud and abuse laws so they can join forces and coordinate care, sharing cost reductions and profits in ways that would not otherwise be allowed," the New York Times wrote last November.