clearn.png
Monday September 16th, 2019 10:57PM

White House yanks drug 'rebate' plan to ease costs for some

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is withdrawing a plan to ease the financial bite of costly medications for people on Medicare by letting them receive rebates that drugmakers now pay to insurers and middlemen, the White House said Thursday.

The once-highly promoted plan from Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar ran into opposition within the White House. The pushback grew after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated the plan would have little impact on manufacturer prices and would cost Medicare $177 billion over 10 years because it would lead to higher premiums subsidized by taxpayers.

White House spokesman Judd Deere said the proposal to create the rebate program was withdrawn "based on careful analysis and thorough consideration."

Deere said Trump is not backing away from his promise to lower drug prices, and the administration is setting its sights on bipartisan legislation advancing in Congress . Various bills would cap drug copays for people with Medicare. Patients taking very expensive medications for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions can now face copays that rival a mortgage payment.

"The Trump administration is encouraged by continuing bipartisan conversations about legislation to reduce outrageous drug costs imposed on the American people, and President Trump will consider using any and all tools to ensure that prescription drug costs will continue to decline," Deere said in a statement.

The administration's about-face appears to be a win for insurers, employers, and middlemen called "pharmacy benefit managers" who administer prescription drug plans for large blocks of insured patients. It looks like a defeat for the pharmaceutical industry, which preferred the consumer rebate approach to other ideas that lawmakers are considering. Those include "inflation rebates" that drugmakers would be pay directly to Medicare if they raise prices beyond a yet-to-be-determined measure.

In a shift, Labor Department data show that overall prescription drug inflation seems to have stabilized in the past six months, with more monthly declines than increases. The White House credits Trump for that change, but independent experts say what's happening isn't totally clear yet. The government's inflation index for medications also includes prices for lower-cost generics, and most consumers are worried about high-priced brand drugs.

Rebates are a largely unseen part of the complex world of drug pricing.

Under the administration's plan, drugmaker rebates now paid to insurance companies and their middlemen would have gone directly to seniors in Medicare's Part D program when they filled their prescriptions.

But congressional analysts concluded that drug companies were unlikely to lower list prices across the board in response to the plan. Instead, they would reimburse pharmacies for discounts provided to individuals as they fill their prescriptions. Analysts also questioned how quickly and smoothly the program could have been rolled out.

Budget hawks within the administration saw their hand strengthened by the report.

The analysts did say that seniors who cannot afford their copays now would be clear winners. They would be better able to stay on their medications, and that could reduce Medicare hospital and outpatient spending by about $20 billion over 10 years.

But without insurers getting the rebates, the bottom line would have been an increase in premiums. Because the government subsidizes about 75% of the premium, that would add $170 billion to program spending from 2020-2029. Medicaid spending would also increase by $7 billion.

The administration's reversal was first reported by Axios.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Health, AP Business, AP Business - Economy, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Financial Services, AP Business - Health Care, AP Business - Personal Finance
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
White House yanks drug 'rebate' plan to ease costs for some
The White House says President Donald Trump is withdrawing a plan that would have eased the financial bite of drug costs for people on Medicare by allowing them to receive rebates that drugmakers now pay insurers and middlemen
10:33AM ( 6 minutes ago )
APNewsBreak: Customs clarifies policy on plane ID searches
APNewsBreak: After lawsuit settlement, US Customs and Border Protection clarifies that airline passengers aren't required to submit to suspicion-less document checks
10:29AM ( 11 minutes ago )
No bones found in Vatican tombs searched for missing girl
A lawyer for the family of a Vatican City teenager who vanished in 1983 says no remains have been found in tombs opened near St. Peter's Basilica
10:13AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Trump lashes out on Twitter ahead of social media 'summit'
President Donald Trump is lashing out on Twitter ahead of a White House 'Social Media Summit,' a gathering of mostly conservative groups
9:47AM ( 53 minutes ago )
Weinstein overhauling legal team as trial looms in 60 days
Harvey Weinstein is in court to recast his defense team yet again, this time a mere 60 days before he's due to stand trial in New York on sexual assault charges
9:45AM ( 55 minutes ago )
US poised to begin immigration enforcement operation
A nationwide immigration enforcement operation targeting people who are in the United States illegally is expected to begin this weekend after it was postponed last month by President Donald Trump
9:43AM ( 56 minutes ago )
AP National News
Acosta defends Epstein deal amid calls for his resignation
Labor Secretary Acosta, facing calls for his resignation, defends his handling of a sex trafficking case involving now-jailed financier Jeffrey Epstein
7:18AM ( 3 hours ago )
Veteran bull runners protest lack of thrills in Pamplona
The fifth bull run of this year's San Fermin festival in the Spanish city of Pamplona featured one goring after a protest by some revelers who complain that the traditional festivity is in danger of losing its heart-stopping thrills
6:59AM ( 3 hours ago )
Boris Johnson says he's not to blame for ambassador's ouster
Boris Johnson, the man likely to become Britain's prime minister within weeks, is denying he played any role in the departure of Britain's ambassador to Washington, who quit after coming under attack from President Donald Trump
6:58AM ( 3 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Report says UK lawmakers' staff face bullying, harassment
A lawyer's investigation has found that staff working for British lawmakers face "an unacceptable risk of bullying and harassment," and some have suffered sexual and physical assaults
9:46AM ( 54 minutes ago )
Trump to hold news conference on census citizenship question
President Donald Trump says he'll hold a news conference to talk about the 2020 census and his push to include a question on citizenship
7:52AM ( 2 hours ago )
Biden to promise US return to forefront of world democracies
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is promising to refocus American foreign policy to combat the authoritarianism and global instability he says are proliferating under President Donald Trump
7:21AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
California Democrats turn up pressure on gig economy
The battle between California lawmakers and major employers such as Uber and Lyft is heating up
7:30PM ( 15 hours ago )
The Latest: Markets end up after Powell hints at rate cut
Fed Chairman Powell testimony to Congress, minutes from Fed meeting in June point to rate cut
7:23PM ( 15 hours ago )
Congress probes approval of Trump backer's housing project
A congressional committee is investigating whether the U.S. Interior Department helped an Arizona developer and supporter of President Donald Trump get a crucial permit
7:20PM ( 15 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Man at center of French soul-searching on life support dies
A man in a vegetative state for 11 years who was at the center of a bitter dispute that divided his family and French courts, and provoked national soul-searching over how to deal with terminally ill patients, has died
8:09AM ( 2 hours ago )
Germany's Merkel sits for anthems after shaking episodes
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the visiting Danish prime minister have sat through their countries' national anthems at a ceremony in Berlin, a day after the latest of three incidents in which Merkel's body shook as she stood at a similar event
7:12AM ( 3 hours ago )
Trump directs government to revamp care for kidney disease
President Donald Trump has signed an executive order directing the government to revamp the nation's care for kidney disease so more people whose kidneys fail have a chance at early transplants and home dialysis
2:56PM ( 19 hours ago )
AP Health
'Robot umpires' debut in independent Atlantic League
'Robot umpires' debut in independent Atlantic League; computer calls balls and strikes at All-Star Game
9:37AM ( 1 hour ago )
Amazon, seeking more skilled workers, will do the training
Amazon to spend more than $700M on training for about a third of its US workforce
9:35AM ( 1 hour ago )
Branson: Pound could be just a dollar in 'no-deal' Brexit
Virgin Group founder Richard Branson has warned that a no-deal Brexit will force the company to invest less in Britain because of pressures on the pound
9:22AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
The Latest: EU cites progress on Iran barter system
The European Union says it is making some progress on its controversial barter-type system to trade with Tehran and get around U.S. sanctions as part of its efforts to keep the Iran nuclear deal alive
7:54AM ( 2 hours ago )
World shares mostly rise after Fed signals US rate cut
World shares mostly rise after Fed's Powell suggests US central bank may cut interest rates for 1st time in a decade
7:40AM ( 3 hours ago )
France adopts pioneering tax on tech giants after US threat
France has adopted a pioneering tax on internet giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook despite threats from the U.S.
7:08AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
Britain says Iranian vessels tried to block ship in Gulf
The British navy says it has prevented three Iranian paramilitary vessels from impeding the passage of a British commercial ship in the Strait of Hormuz, a day after Iran's president warned of repercussions for the seizure of its own supertanker
3:55AM ( 6 hours ago )
UK: Iranian vessels tried to block British vessel in Gulf
Britain says three Iranian vessels unsuccessfully tried to impede the passage of a British commercial vessel through the Strait of Hormuz
1:19AM ( 9 hours ago )
New holding center for migrant children opens in Texas
A former oilfield worker camp off a dirt road in rural Texas has become the U.S. government's newest facility for detaining immigrant children after they leave Border Patrol stations
7:42PM ( 14 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
Powell signals that rate cut could be coming soon
Powell sends strong signal that Fed is prepared to cut rates in light of rising uncertainties
12:11PM ( 22 hours ago )
The Latest: Powell says deficits on 'unsustainable path'
Fed Chairman Powell says federal government budget deficits on 'unsustainable path'
12:09PM ( 22 hours ago )
The Latest: Powell says pay gains too slow to lift inflation
Fed Chairman Powell says wage gains too slow to accelerate inflation
11:27AM ( 23 hours ago )
AP Business - Financial Services
Judge strikes down rule requiring drug ads to reveal prices
A federal judge says the Trump administration went beyond its legal authority by requiring prescription drug manufacturers to disclose their prices in TV ads
10:51PM ( 2 days ago )
Trump promises order aimed at lower prescription drug prices
President Donald Trump is promising an executive order that he says is intended to enable the U.S. government to pay lower prices for prescription drugs
1:04PM ( 5 days ago )
Order: Abortions can continue at Missouri's lone clinic
A Missouri commissioner says the state's only abortion clinic can continue providing the service as a fight over its license plays out
12:00AM ( 1 week ago )
AP Business - Health Care
Biden earned more than $15 million after leaving White House
Joe Biden's newly released presidential tax returns and financial disclosure show that he and his wife, Jill, have earned more than $15 million since leaving the Obama White House
6:05AM ( 1 day ago )
Validity of Obama health care law at issue in appeal hearing
Supporters of President Barack Obama's signature health care law have asked a federal appeals court to decide that the Affordable Care Act is still valid even though Congress eliminated a tax the law imposed on people who don't buy insurance
8:14PM ( 1 day ago )
AP-NORC Poll: Many feeling vulnerable despite economic gains
AP-NORC Poll: Many satisfied with their personal finances yet feel financially vulnerable
8:28AM ( 2 days ago )
AP Business - Personal Finance
APNewsBreak: Customs clarifies policy on plane ID searches
APNewsBreak: After lawsuit settlement, US Customs and Border Protection clarifies that airline passengers aren't required to submit to suspicion-less document checks
10:29AM ( 11 minutes ago )
No bones found in Vatican tombs searched for missing girl
A lawyer for the family of a Vatican City teenager who vanished in 1983 says no remains have been found in tombs opened near St. Peter's Basilica
10:13AM ( 27 minutes ago )
Taylor Swift shakes off drama with fun concert performance
Taylor Swift headlines Amazon Music's Prime Day Concert in New York City and shakes off drama with fun performance
10:03AM ( 37 minutes ago )
Louisiana braces for slow-moving possible weekend hurricane
New Orleans and a surrounding stretch of the Louisiana-Mississippi coastline are bracing for a possible hurricane this weekend that could swamp the streets of the dangerously low-lying city and leave water lapping at the tops of levees
9:59AM ( 41 minutes ago )
White House yanks drug 'rebate' plan to lower costs for some
The White House says President Donald Trump is withdrawing a plan that would have eased the financial bite of drug costs for people on Medicare by allowing them to receive rebates that drugmakers now pay insurers and middlemen
9:57AM ( 43 minutes ago )