Feb 9, 2018

Here's what the White House wants to do about drug prices

HHS Secretary Alex Azar. Photo: Chris Kleponis / Getty Images

The White House is out with a long list of proposals to help bring down the cost of prescription drugs, through a combination of direct federal intervention and steps to promote greater competition. At least some of those ideas will be part of the administration's annual budget proposal, according to Bloomberg.

Between the lines: Lowering drug prices is popular, and it's an issue President Trump has spoken about a lot. And the outline the White House released today is much more detailed than many of its other policy proposals. Still, the White House budget is mostly a messaging document — most real policy action has to come from Congress.

The details: Here's what will be in the budget proposal Monday, per Bloomberg:

  • Ensuring Medicare enrollees benefit directly from discounts negotiated by drugmakers and middlemen.
  • Capping out-of -pocket prescription drug costs.
  • Potentially making generic drugs free for low-income Medicare enrollees.
  • Moving drugs administered in a doctor's office from Medicare Part B to Part D, which would set up negotiations with insurers over the price of these drugs.
  • Reduce Part B payments from 6% above the average sales price to 3%.
  • Redistribute the savings from a program that gives drug discounts to hospitals that treat a high number of low-income people.
  • Begin a Medicaid pilot program that would allow state programs to exclude some drugs from their list of covered treatments, a way to get bigger discounts.

Key quote: The administration plans to address drug prices “with the same zeal and vigor that you saw on taxes," Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, told Bloomberg. “This is a top, top priority for the president."

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 5,463,392 — Total deaths: 344,503 — Total recoveries — 2,195,325Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 1,653,904 — Total deaths: 97,948 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: Italy reports lowest number of new cases since February — Ireland reports no new coronavirus deaths on Monday for the first time since March 21 — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: New York stock exchange to reopen its floor on Tuesday — White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

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Why it matters: Italy, the first country in Europe to implement a nationwide lockdown after emerging as a hotspot in March, appears to have finally weathered its coronavirus outbreak. Italy has reported nearly 33,000 total deaths, the third-highest total behind the U.S. and U.K.

Joe Biden makes first public appearance in over two months

Photo: Oliver Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden made his first in-person appearance in over two months on Monday to honor Memorial Day by laying a wreath at a Delaware veterans park, AP reports.

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