John O'Brien is resigning as chief adviser on drug prices to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, effective Aug. 22, and Center of Medicare Principal Deputy Director John Brooks will "expand his current responsibilities to serve as senior adviser for drug-pricing reform," according to an HHS statement.
The Trump administration has finalized the so-called public charge rule that will deny permanent residency to immigrants who use public benefits, including Medicaid, Section 8 housing vouchers and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, but not Medicaid for youths younger than 21 and pregnant women, the Children's Health Insurance Program, and public benefits for legal immigrant children of US citizens. The American Academy of Pediatrics and other health care groups said that the rule, which will be effective Oct. 15, may reduce participation in health care programs, even in uncovered government programs, and increase health care costs.
The Trump administration's plan to allow US states, wholesalers and pharmacies to import less expensive prescription drugs from Canada is drawing critics north of the border, and Canadian Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor is meeting with stakeholders after vowing to ensure there will be no adverse effects. University of Ottawa professor Amir Attaran called the plan unethical and said, "You are coming as Americans to poach our drug supply, and I don't have any polite words for that."
The latest figures from the CMS showed enrollment in the individual insurance market dropped by 1.2 million, or 24%, between 2017 and 2018 among people whose incomes are too high to qualify for Affordable Care Act subsidies, while enrollment increased by 300,000 among those eligible for financial help. As of February 2019, 10.6 million people had coverage on ACA exchanges, about the same as last year, while average premiums fell by 1% between 2018 and 2019 after years of increases.
An analysis of commercial hospital inpatient claims for people with employer-based coverage showed hospital prices for inpatient care climbed by 19% from 2013 to 2017, while physician prices for these services only rose by 10% during the same period. "Slowing the growth of hospital inpatient costs -- by reducing hospital price increases to the level of physician price increases -- would make health care more affordable for consumers and employers," the analysis concluded.
PCMA is the national association representing America's pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), which administer prescription drug plans for more than 270 million Americans with health coverage provided through Fortune 500 employers, health insurance plans, labor unions, and Medicare Part D. PCMA is dedicated to enhancing the proven tools and techniques pioneered by PBMs that generate savings and access for consumers and payors.
Contact PCMA Charles Cote
Vice President, Strategic Communications