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AP file photo

Trump administration officials are having a meeting today to bat around some ideas for executive actions they can take on drug prices, as Jonathan Swan reported last night. And one idea has emerged that will make health care nerds very happy, Bloomberg reports: The White House might promote value-based pricing, in which insurers pay for drugs based on how well they work on specific diseases and patients.

Why it matters: That's actually an idea that wouldn't get a big fight from the pharmaceutical industry. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America has been pushing for legislative and regulatory changes to make it easier to promote those kinds of arrangements. But without legislative changes, the Trump administration may have to settle for using them only in federal programs, like Medicare Part D.

Before you get too excited: Research published yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine throws some cold water on the promise of value-based purchasing, at least in hospitals. Hospitals that are part of the program — which conditions some of their Medicare payments on a complex set of performance metrics — don't seem to perform any better than hospitals that aren't, according to the NEJM article.

The bottom line: Both groups of hospitals have improved since value-based purchasing took effect, but at about the same rate.

But there may be some valuable lessons here. The NEJM authors noted that another, somewhat similar ACA policy — penalties for hospitals that readmit a lot of patients — seem to be working pretty well. That program might be more effective because it's simpler, the authors said, and because it uses penalties instead of bonuses.

Go deeper

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate action on stimulus bill continues as Dems reach deal on jobless aid

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democratic leaders struck an agreement with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) on emergency unemployment insurance late Friday, clearing the way for Senate action on President Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package to resume after an hours-long delay.

The state of play: The Senate will now work through votes on a series of amendments that are expected to last overnight into early Saturday morning.

Capitol review panel recommends more police, mobile fencing

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

A panel appointed by Congress to review security measures at the Capitol is recommending several changes, including mobile fencing and a bigger Capitol police force, to safeguard the area after a riotous mob breached the building on Jan. 6.

Why it matters: Law enforcement officials have warned there could be new plots to attack the area and target lawmakers, including during a speech President Biden is expected to give to a joint session of Congress.

Financial fallout from the Texas deep freeze

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Texas has thawed out after an Arctic freeze last month threw the state into a power crisis. But the financial turmoil from power grid shock is just starting to take shape.

Why it matters: In total, electricity companies are billions of dollars short on the post-storm payments they now owe to the state's grid operator. There's no clear path for how they will pay — something being watched closely across the country as extreme weather events become more common.