Speaker Pelosi to Release Drug Pricing Plan in September, Progressive Caucus Raises Transparency Concerns

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) upcoming drug pricing plan is expected for release in September, according to Rep. Pelosi’s health policy aide, Wendell Primus. The proposal authorizes the government to limit prices for certain expensive drugs and ensure that negotiated prices apply to all payers. On Aug. 28, members of the Progressive Caucus sent a letter to Rep. Pelosi, asking for transparency and inclusion in writing the plan before it is finalized for public presentation. The Progressive Caucus fears the plan falls short, and it supports an alternate bill sponsored by Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) that allows the government to strip patents from drug manufacturers that refuse to negotiate prices in good faith, known as the Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act (H.R. 1046). Find the full letter here.


Former FDA Commissioners and Industry Groups Push for FDA’s Ned Sharpless to Be Permanent Commissioner

On Sept. 3, a group of four former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioners and more than 50 health groups sent two letters to President Trump and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar urging the administration to give acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless the position permanently. Sharpless faces competition for the permanent role.

IRS Will Collect More Than $15.5B From 2020 Health Insurance Tax

On Sept. 3, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a guidance memo stating that the federal government will collect more than $15.52 billion from most health insurers in 2020 if Congress does not extend the existing suspension of the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance tax. Bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would delay the tax until 2022 has 124 House sponsors and 27 Senate sponsors. Find the full guidance memo here.

Read more on healthcare policy on the McGuireWoods Consulting website.