Jan 31, 2019

Trump administration proposes rolling back drug rebates

A new rule would lower drug costs at the pharmacy counter. Photo: George Frey/Getty Images

HHS and the Office of Inspector General formally released a long-awaited proposal Thursday that would eliminate drug price reductions, called rebates, in Medicare and Medicaid. Instead, those rebates offered by drug companies to insurance middlemen would lower what people pay at the pharmacy counter.

The big picture: The Trump administration has signaled for months it wanted to overhaul the drug rebate system. The pharmaceutical industry praised the proposal, which would go into effect Jan. 1, 2020, because it wouldn't limit how drugs are priced, but insurers and pharmacy benefit managers have already warned they would raise premiums to offset any loss of rebates.

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Snapchat will no longer promote Trump's account in Discover

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Snapchat will no longer promote President Trump's account on its "Discover" page of curated content, a spokesperson tells Axios, after Trump tweeted comments that some suggested glorified violence amid racial justice protests.

Why it matters: Snapchat is taking action on the president's account for comments he made elsewhere. That's going farther than other big tech firms and signals a commitment to aligning content served to users with core values, rather than making moderation decisions based narrowly on each post made on its own platform.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Esper catches White House off guard with opposition to military use, photo op

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said at a press briefing Wednesday that he does not currently support invoking the Insurrection Act, an 1807 law that permits the president to use active-duty troops on U.S. soil, in order to quell protests against racial injustice.

Why it matters: President Trump threatened this week to deploy military forces if state and local governments aren't able to squash violent protests. Axios reported on Wednesday that Trump is backing off the idea for now, but that he hasn't ruled it out.

Chinese coronavirus test maker agreed to build a Xinjiang gene bank

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A leading Chinese gene sequencing and biomedical firm that said it would build a gene bank in Xinjiang is supplying coronavirus tests around the world.

Why it matters: U.S. officials are worried that widespread coronavirus testing may provide an opportunity for state-connected companies to compile massive DNA databases for research as well as genetics-based surveillance.