This week in Washington: Mnuchin and Pelosi continue discussions for COVID-19 stimulus package.
Democrats Ask GAO to Investigate Legality of President Trump’s Medicare Drug Gift Cards
On Oct. 13, House Energy & Commerce Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ), House Ways & Means Chair Richard Neal (D-MA) and Senate Finance ranking member Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review the legality of President Trump’s $200 Medicare drug discount cards. President Trump promised to hand out $200 gift cards to help Medicare Part D beneficiaries cover their copays. Only seniors would receive the cards before the election. However, the Democratic members say in the letter that the cards are almost like buying votes, and question whether the cards are legal before an upcoming presidential election.
Pelosi Rejects Trump Administration’s $1.8 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Package, Mnuchin Willing to Negotiate Further
On Oct. 12, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rejected the Trump administration’s $1.8 billion COVID-19 stimulus offer. She argued that the proposal ignored key economic issues during the pandemic and is $400 billion less than the Democrats’ proposal. The topline spending amounts and some of the major provisions have been confirmed, but no one has publicly seen the text. Democrats oppose an insufficient strategy for COVID-19 testing and tracing, and liability protection, which would shield corporations from coronavirus-related lawsuits. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin responded that the Trump administration is willing to compromise with House Democrats over a provision on testing in a relief proposal.
Sen. Alexander and Rep. Walden Ask for Input on Modernizing 340B Drug Pricing Program
On Oct. 9, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and House Energy and Commerce Committee ranking member Greg Walden (R-OR) released a statement calling for input on how to improve the 340B Drug Pricing Program. Suggestions from stakeholders must be submitted by Oct. 30, 2020, to the following email addresses: 340B@help.senate.gov and 340B@mail.house.gov. Find the full statement here.
Read more on healthcare policy in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Washington Healthcare Update.