Eleventh-Hour Lobbying Campaigns Hope To Lower Costs To Industry
As the Senate Finance Committee finalizes its health reform proposal, medical-device makers are hoping to convince lawmakers to make one last change, The Wall Street Journal reports. "The Advanced Medical Technology Association, or AdvaMed, the trade group for the larger device manufacturers, wants [Committee Chair Max Baucus of Montana] to reduce $40 billion in fees over the next decade to $15 billion, according to people close to the negotiations. But industry was told that offer is too low. As of Sunday, the final draft included the higher number." An AdvaMed spokeswoman said those details of the negotiations were "rumor and speculations." Votes on the bill could come as early as Tuesday. The White House supported the fees in earlier negotiations.
Other industries worked out deals with the administration and key senators earlier this year. "The pharmaceutical industry in June offered concessions that would save the government an estimated $80 billion on health-care costs over the next decade, and the coalition of hospitals proffered $155 billion. Executives from both industries believe some sort of health legislation is likely to pass and would prefer to have a say in shaping it. Administration officials have told them that expanded, government-subsidized health coverage would likely bring them millions of new customers" (Mundy and Vaughan, 10/5).
That pharmaceutical industry pact, however, may be jeopardized by an amendment expected from Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, that would allow low-income seniors to buy drugs through Medicaid, rather than Medicare, thus paying lower rates, Roll Call reports. That would cost the drug industry money, and a term of their cost-cutting deal with the White House was that $80 billion would be all Washington would ask for. The pharmaceutical lobby has said it will oppose the amendment (Murray, 10/5).