KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Sen. Sherrod Brown Offers Bill To Allow Medicare To Negotiate Drug Prices

The strategy, he says, would help lower prescription costs for the government and seniors. Also, Florida lawmakers are weighing a bill that would bar insurance companies from increasing a customer's prescription costs or changing the list of covered drugs during the contract year.

Miami Herald: Medicare Drug Prices Too High? Democrats And Donald Trump Have An Idea
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, reintroduced legislation that would give the Health and Human Services Secretary the ability to negotiate the price of prescriptions under Medicare. Under current law Medicare cannot do this. ... Brown hopes the bill will help government wield the bargaining power of nearly 41 million seniors to negotiate bigger price discounts, boosting savings for taxpayers and trimming costs for those enrolled in Medicare Part D. (Veciana-Suarez, 1/10)

Health News Florida: FL Lawmakers Propose Prescription Drug 'Bait And Switch' Bill
Two Florida lawmakers want health insurance companies to stick by their contracts when it comes to prescription medications. Currently, no law prevents health insurance companies from increasing a member's out-of-pocket prescription costs or changing the drugs they cover after the contract is signed. ... “I hear from constituents who sign up for a plan that covers the medicine they need, only to have their health plan force them to switch to a less effective drug just a few months later,” [Sen. Debbie] Mayfield said in a news release. “The ‘Bait-and-Switch Bill’ is about consumer protection. All we want is for Florida insurers to honor their contracts with patients. Floridians can’t change health plans throughout the year, so insurers shouldn’t be able to reduce the benefits they receive.” (Miller, 1/10)

For more news on high drug costs, check out our weekly feature, Prescription Drug Watch, which includes coverage and perspectives of the issue.

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