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Overnight health care – drug pricing outside of the Biden framework, at least for now


Welcome to Thursday night health care, where we follow the latest policy developments and news affecting your health. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.

Of the 455 new words and meanings Merriam-Webster added to her dictionary, several were popularized during the pandemic, including “long COVID”, “breakthrough” and “vaccine passport.”

President BidenJoe BidenBiden to meet with House Dems ahead of trip to Europe: Report 21 House Democrats are calling for removing IRS banking reporting proposal from overnight health care expense bill – Brought to you by Altria – The Vulnerables House Dems push the PLUS drug pricing planThe social spending framework is out … and it doesn’t include the price of drugs (at least for now). It includes the expansion of Medicaid and improved grants from the Affordable Care Act.

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Let’s get started.

Drug pricing is outside Biden’s scope, but Democrats say they’re not giving up yet

Two Democratic committee chairs on Thursday said they were not dropping the inclusion of provisions to cut prescription drug prices in President Biden’s social spending program after being kicked out of a framework released by the House White.

“We’re staying there. It’s too important,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). “I have had a number of conversations about this this morning.”

A House Energy and Commerce Committee contributor said Chairman Frank Pallone (DN.J.) “does not believe the Build Back Better Act can be passed by the House without significant reforms to reduce the cost of prescription drugs.” .

But the way forward remains steep, given the objections of a handful of moderate Democrats.

Where are things at? One of those moderate Democrats, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona), has reached a deal with the White House on a much smaller drug price measure, according to a source close to the talks.

This deal was similar to a proposal put forward by Representatives Scott Peters (D-Calif.) And Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), Which would allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices only in much more limited circumstances, for older drugs that no longer have patent protection.

This proposal has been described as grossly inadequate by advocates of drug prices and by a key Speaker of the House of Democrats.

A House Energy and Commerce Committee contributor said Thursday that the proposal “could not pass in the House” and “would not functionally do anything to lower prescription drug prices for the American people.”

The path to follow: So it remains to be seen whether lawmakers can come to a deal to satisfy both Sinema and the many Democrats who want to go further.

Read more here.


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What does he understand? Medicaid Coverage and Medicare Expansion

There are no drug pricing provisions, but the White House-backed social spending framework includes a reduced expansion of Medicare and Medicaid coverage.

On Medicaid, the framework would offer four years of subsidized private health insurance on Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges for low-income people living in states that have not extended Medicaid under the Act. Healthcare.

This means $ 0 in premiums for 4 million people in the ‘coverage gap’, which means they do not earn enough to qualify for ACA grants though, as they live in a non-expanding state. , they also earn too much to qualify for Medicaid.

Subsidizing coverage is the industry’s most user-friendly way to help people with a coverage gap. The alternative proposed by House Democrats in September would have created a whole new “Medicaid-like” government program.

Not a lot of health insurance: Progressives wanted to expand Medicare to cover dental, vision and hearing benefits. But the framework would only cover the hearing. Senator Bernie sandersBernie SandersDemocrats Hope To Hold Big Oil ‘Responsible’ On The Money – Will Billionaire Tax Survive Joe Manchin? Democrats cut paid vacation from spending deal amid Manchin opposition (I-Vt.) Said having all three in the bill was not negotiable; but on Thursday Sanders didn’t say he opposed the frame, only that it needed to be improved. The provision will also not come into force until 2024.

ACA Grants: The framework includes extending enhanced financial aid to help people pay premiums under the ACA, a key part of President Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) Legacy.

Read more here.


One percent of all adults in a Kaiser Family Foundation survey said they quit their jobs due to COVID-19 vaccine requirements as more institutes mandates in the workplace.

The October KFF Vaccine Monitor released Thursday determined that of unvaccinated adults, only 5 percent quit their jobs because of the demands, “despite widespread reporting” of workplace vaccination mandates resulting in quits. .

Republicans are twice as likely as Democrats to report knowing someone who quit their job because of a vaccination mandate, with nearly a quarter of all adults reporting knowing someone who has quit.

A quarter of workers said their employers instituted a COVID-19 vaccination mandate – a 16 percentage point increase since June.

Expected response from the mandate: The vaccine requirements come as the Biden administration moved forward with its plan to institute a vaccine or testing mandate for all employers with 100 or more employees.

Almost half of unvaccinated workers, 46 percent, said under this type of mandate they would opt for weekly testing. Eleven percent said they would most likely be vaccinated while 37 percent, representing 1 percent of all adults, said they would quit their jobs.

But without the weekly test option, a majority of unvaccinated workers, at 72 percent, said they would quit their jobs, which is 9 percent of all adults. Seventeen percent said they would receive the vaccine in this situation, which is 2 percent of all adults.

Read more here.


Pfizer and BioNTech announced in a press release Thursday that they will provide the US government with 50 million additional pediatric doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

According to the companies statement, the move is intended to help prepare for the immunization needs of children under 5, should the vaccine ultimately be approved for children this young.

Pfizer says that with the inclusion of this order of doses, the U.S. government has obtained 600 million Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines since the start of the pandemic.

Next step: Pfizer said it plans to deliver all doses by the end of April.

The announcement comes after a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel recommended Tuesday approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 5-year-old children.

Trial data for people aged 2 to less than 5 years and for those aged six months to less than 2 years are expected to be available at the end of this year or early next year.

Read more here.


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DeSantis sues Biden over federal contractor vaccine mandate

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) on Thursday sued the Biden administration over its COVID-19 vaccine mandates for federal contractors, the latest in a series of GOP attacks on President Biden’s response efforts to the pandemic.

The lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court in Tampa, calls the policy a “radical intrusion into the personal autonomy of American workers” and seeks a nationwide preliminary injunction to prevent it from taking effect.

He names President Biden and a handful of federal agencies as defendants, including NASA, the General Services Administration, and the Office of Management and Budget.

“It’s important for us to take a stand,” DeSantis said at a press conference. “Throwing people aside is just not something we can tolerate here in the state of Florida, so we’re going to do whatever we can. “

Deadline, but not a cliff: The policy is expected to go into effect on December 8. White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said on Wednesday that the purpose of the warrants was not to punish people, and noted that the deadlines for federal employees and contractors “are not cliffs”. He also indicated that there will be levels of flexibility and no one will lose their job immediately: employers and federal contractors will need to educate, counsel and accommodate their unvaccinated workers to persuade them to get the vaccine before laying them off.

Read more here.


  • Public health groups fear threats to local officials will escalate as US plans to roll out vaccine for children (CNN)

  • Biden vaccine rule will allow employers to charge workers for testing (Bloomberg law)

  • US Bets on Covid-19 Boosters’ Effectiveness Against Evolving Virus, As Doses Roll Out (The Wall Street Journal)

  • World faces syringe shortage as COVID vaccine doses rise (The Associated Press)


  • New York predicts a shortage of police and firefighters as the vaccination deadline approaches. (The New York Times)

  • As ‘test to stay’ prepares nationwide, Massachusetts ‘rocky’ deployment raises questions (Stat News)

  • New Mexico in “uncomfortable plateau” with virus cases as state has higher infection rate (The Santa Fe New Mexican)


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