KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Ideas For Tackling Prescription Drug Costs Gain Traction With White House, Lawmakers

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney says that the administration is looking at ways to make drugmakers pay for mandatory rebates on medications bought through Medicare, as done with Medicaid. And Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price will hold listening sessions on the issue in the coming weeks.

The Washington Post: The White House Budget Director Dropped A Hint About How Trump Could Bring Drug Prices Down 
White House budget director Mick Mulvaney dropped a surprising clue Thursday about how President Trump might bring drug prices down, describing the kind of government intervention that traditionally has been supported by Democrats. Mulvaney explained at a Stanford University conference that drugmakers receive a “tremendous giveaway” from Medicare's prescription drug benefit because they do not have to pay a mandatory rebate off the average price, as they do in Medicaid. Instead, in Medicare's prescription drug benefit, private companies bargain with drug companies to win rebates for their members. (Johnson, 5/12)

Roll Call: Policymakers Face Pressure To Act On Drug Pricing
A proposal that would open the door for the import of low-cost prescription drugs from Canada was defeated at a Senate markup Thursday, but the proposal is unlikely to be gone for good. Lawmakers from both parties seem to want to demonstrate concern about drug prices to voters. The administration also appears interested in addressing the issue, with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price holding listening sessions with patient groups and think tanks in recent weeks. None of the proposals would send drug prices plummeting, but public concern is high and policymakers are feeling pressure to take some kind of step, even if it would have a modest impact. (Siddons, 5/15)

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