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Health policy was front and center as Congress rushed to pass major legislation before going on summer recess. President Joe Biden this week signed a bill providing health benefits to military veterans who became ill after exposure to toxic burn pits, and a measure that may soon require Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices and extend increased subsidies to those who buy their insurance through their insurers. Sign it. The Affordable Care Act’s Marketplace.
Meanwhile, the abortion debate rages across the country, with Indiana becoming the first state to pass a new ban since the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade In June.
This week’s panelists are KHN’s Julie Rovner, Politico’s Alice Miranda Wolstein, Pink Sheets’ Sarah Carlin-Smith and STAT’s Rachel Kohrs.
Among the takeaways from this week’s episode:
- Senate parliamentarians determine that provisions in special budget legislation, called reconciliation bills, meet the requirements to not be subject to a filibuster and are instead eligible to pass with a simple majority vote. Along with the Inflation Reduction Act, he forced Democrats last week to drop some drug pricing provisions that would have applied to consumers in the private health insurance market. This includes a plan that requires drugmakers to retain any price increases for certain drugs at the rate of inflation.
- Democrats were also disappointed that lawmakers vetoed their efforts to pass an insulin price cap on patients not covered by Medicare, and Republicans failed to support efforts to pass the measure. Several other bills designed to help keep the cost of life-saving drugs affordable are stalled in Congress and are unlikely to get a vote in the Senate this year.
- But the bill still provides key guarantees for Medicare beneficiaries and is a major change in how the government will interact with drugmakers. Getting such legislation — so strongly opposed by industry — was an impressive feat for Democrats in an evenly divided Senate.
- If the bill passes the House on Friday, as expected, some changes to Medicare, including price negotiations, will not take effect immediately. So consumers will have to wait to realize all the benefits of the new law.
- Indiana’s new abortion law is set to go into effect next month. But the legal debate has revealed tensions among anti-abortion groups over how strict to be about access to abortion for potential rape victims. Ultimately, Indiana lawmakers decided to make exceptions for rape and molestation.
- The new Indiana abortion law, however, prompted a statement from Lilly, the drugmaker headquartered in the state, that the restrictions could hurt the company’s hiring efforts and that the company would provide assistance to employees who have to move out of state. For abortion care.
- The Biden administration last week declared a public health emergency for monkeypox, and Health and Human Services Secretary Javier Becerra this week authorized the FDA to grant emergency use approval for the monkeypox vaccine.
- There is growing concern about the large number of people in the United States who are suffering from long-term health problems due to Covid-19. Yet there appears to be little interest on Capitol Hill in funding studies or programs to help this population.
Plus, for extra credit, the panelists recommend their favorite health policy stories of the week that they think you should read, too:
Julie Rovner: “For Sleep Apnea Patients With Withdrawn CPAP Machines, Restless Nights,” by Laurie McGinley, Washington Post
Rachel Kohrs: “Conservatives lead a hospital in coronavirus vaccine battle” by Tim Craig of The Washington Post
Alice Miranda Wolstein: AP’s “Study links climate hazards to 58% of infectious diseases,” by Seth Borenstein
Sarah Carlin-Smith: “US FDA Commissioner Califf Embraces Misinformation, Starts with ‘Rumor Control'” by The Pink Sheet.
Also mentioned in this week’s episode:
“Abortion Complicates Access to Medicines for Cancer, Arthritis, Even Ulcers” by Katie Shepherd and Frances Stead Sellers, Washington Post
Politico’s “Republicans turn to each other amid post-Roe chaos,” by Megan Messerly and Alice Miranda Wolstein.
“‘A Slap in the Face’: Some Upset Lilly, Wait to Criticize Abortion Ban Until Holcomb Signs It,” by Binghui Huang and Lizzy Kane, Indianapolis Star
“Pregnant Women in States That Ban Abortion Face the Reality of a Post-Roe World” by NBC News’ Lauren Dunn and Kristen Dahlgren.
Politico’s “Tim Kaine has a long covid. By Alice Miranda Wolstein It’s Not Getting Congress to Act
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