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Politico (2/12/2021): COVID RELIEF BECOMES VEHICLE FOR DRUG REFORM — Most people expected drug prices to take a back seat to the president’s top priority of getting the pandemic under control. And many ambitious drug policies likely will — but a major reform could ride through on the massive coronavirus relief package.


Modern Healthcare (2/12/2021): Hospitals ask Supreme Court to toss 340B, site-neutral pay cuts — Hospitals asked the Supreme Court to overturn two appeals court decisions upholding Medicare payment cuts for 340B drugs and off-campus hospital outpatient office visits.


Politico (2/12/2021): BIDEN PREPARES TO SCRAP MEDICAID WORK REQUIREMENTS — The Biden administration plans to withdraw the Trump administration’s rule allowing states to impose Medicaid work requirements, according to documents obtained by POLITICO’s Adam Cancryn.


Modern Healthcare (2/11/2021): Congress' next relief package could expand insurance coverage — Congress could adopt several measures to expand health coverage that hospitals and insurers have been lobbying for.


Politico (2/11/2021): BIDEN HHS CONTINUES MEDICAL RECORDS SCRUTINY — The department’s Office for Civil Rights is fining Renown Health $75,000 in a settlement over the Nevada nonprofit health system’s inability to give patients their medical records in a timely manner, POLITICO’s Darius Tahir writes.


Politico (2/11/2021): BIDEN TO SCOTUS: KEEP OBAMACARE ALIVE — The Biden administration is withdrawing federal support for a legal challenge aimed at eliminating the Affordable Care Act, in the latest twist in the lengthy court battle over Obamacare, POLITICO’s Susannah Luthi reports.


The Hill (2/10/2021): Health care industry groups back ObamaCare reforms proposed by Democrats — Powerful interests in the health care industry united behind a set of proposals Wednesday they argued would achieve universal insurance coverage, an apparent endorsement of similar plans offered by congressional Democrats and President Biden to build on the Affordable Care Act (ACA).


The Hill (2/10/2021): House Democrats propose multibillion-dollar COVID-19 relief health package — House Democrats proposed a multibillion-dollar COVID-19 relief bill that would boost investments in public health, vaccines, testing and health care services for the poor


Politico (2/9/2021): LAWMAKERS REVEAL BIPARTISAN BILL TO BOOST RESEARCH FUNDING — More than 75 members of the House and Senate unveiled legislation this week that authorizes $26 billion for research and innovation that they say has been derailed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Brianna Ehley writes.


Politico (2/8/2021): HOW HOUSE DEMOCRATS COULD EXPAND OBAMACARE — If House Democrats get their way, Congress’ next coronavirus relief package will also double as the first major expansion of Obamacare subsidies in over a decade.


The Hill (2/5/2021): Pelosi hopes House can pass COVID-19 relief within two weeks — Emerging from a Friday meeting with President Biden, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she is hopeful the House will send a sweeping COVID-19 relief bill to the Senate within two weeks.


Axios 
(2/5/2021): How COVID is disrupting the drug supply chain — A team of researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health has some warnings about the pandemic causing drug shortages — and some ideas on what to do about it, Axios' David Nather reports.


Politico (2/5/2021): HEALTH EXPERTS WANT QUICK CONFIRMATION FOR TANDEN — More than 100 public health experts have thrown their support behind Biden’s pick to lead the White House budget office and are urging the Senate to speed along her confirmation.


Politico (2/4/2021): BROOKS-LASURE IN THE LEAD FOR CMS CHIEF — Biden is zeroing in on a nominee to lead the agency in charge of Medicare and Medicaid, amid what’s become a lengthy search, POLITICO’s Rachel Roubein, Susannah Luthi and Adam Cancryn report.


Politico (2/4/2021): BIDEN’s COVID AID PUSH ACCELERATES — After two weeks of bipartisan negotiations went nowhere, Biden “worked the phones and hunkered down with fellow Democrats at the White House” Wednesday, racing to finalize the next coronavirus relief package, POLITICO’s Natasha Korecki and Tyler Pager report.


Politico (2/3/2021): DEMOCRATS DRIVE TOWARD MORE COVID AID — Democrats are preparing to pass a nearly $2 trillion coronavirus aid package without any Republican support, POLITICO’s Marianne LeVine and Burgess Everett report. It’s a major step toward fulfilling President Joe Biden’s top legislative priority — that is, jumpstarting the Covid response and economic recovery — but will come at the cost of any remaining bipartisan good feelings.


Modern Healthcare (2/2/2021): HHS further delays Trump-era drug rebate rule — Federal regulators agreed to delay full implementation until Jan. 1, 2023. The Biden administration has until April 1 to decide whether it will continue to defend the rule in court.


The Hill (2/2/2021): Warren to join Finance panel overseeing taxes, health care — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) will join the Senate Finance Committee, giving her a prominent platform to push forward progressive proposals on tax policy and health care.


Politico (2/2/2021): FORMER NEVADA STATE SENATOR JOINS HHS — Yvanna Cancela, who resigned her seat in the Nevada state legislature a few weeks ago, is the health department’s new deputy director of intergovernmental affairs, she tweeted on Monday.


Politico (2/2/2021): COVID RELIEF OVER COMPROMISE — Even as Biden met with GOP senators Monday night to discuss the relief effort, his administration is backing Democratic efforts to pass an expansive $1.9 trillion bill with just 50 votes in the Senate, arguing the plan is widely popular and urgently needed.


The Hill (2/1/2021): Schumer vows Senate will take up 'bold' coronavirus bill, rejecting GOP offer — Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) vowed on Monday that the Senate would take up a "bold" coronavirus relief package, appearing to reject a smaller offer from Republicans.


The Hill (2/1/2021): GOP senators unveil $618 billion coronavirus proposal ahead of Biden meeting — A group of 10 GOP senators unveiled an estimated $618 billion coronavirus proposal on Monday ahead of a meeting with President Biden to discuss relief legislation.


The Hill (1/29/2021): Democrats ready to bypass Republicans on COVID-19 relief bill — Democrats are moving quickly to lay the groundwork for passing additional coronavirus relief, with or without help from Republicans.


Politico (1/29/2021): DEMOCRATS PREPARE TO PUSH COVID AID BILL VIA RECONCILIATION — Democrats are getting ready to introduce a budget resolution next week, the first step in passing a massive Covid relief bill with only Democratic votes — angering the GOP lawmakers who’ve been meeting with Democrats and White House officials to hammer out a bipartisan deal.


Axios 
(1/28/2021): U.S. drug prices higher than other countries' — Prescription drug prices in the U.S. are more than 256% higher than other 32 other countries, with the gap driven by brand-name drugs, a new report by nonpartisan RAND Corporation shows.


Modern Healthcare (1/28/2021): Brand-name drugs cost 344% more in U.S. than other countries — A new RAND Corp. study finds brand-name drugs tend to be much more expensive in the U.S. than more than two dozen comparison countries. Generic drugs, on the other hand, tend to be cheaper.


Modern Healthcare (1/28/2021): Hospitals push CMS to pause 'most favored nation' drug-pricing rule — Providers argued the policy is illegal and wouldn't lower drug prices or patients' out-of-pocket costs in comments on the interim final rule. Hospitals suggested CMS doesn't have the power to carry out such a large experiment.


Politico (1/28/2021): WOODCOCK’s FDA CANDIDACY HITS FRESH OPPOSITION — Janet Woodcock, the leading candidate to run Biden’s FDA, is facing growing scrutiny over her decadeslong track record at the agency, including several years overseeing its drug division during the opioid crisis, reports POLITICO’s Sarah Owermohle.


The Hill (1/28/2021): Biden to implement special ACA enrollment period amid pandemic — President Biden will direct federal agencies on Thursday to open a special enrollment period for Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and review existing policies from the Trump administration that “limit Americans’ access to health care.”


Politico (1/27/2021): DEMOCRATS’ COVID CROSSROADS: GO BIG OR BIPARTISAN? — Democrats are debating how to pass the next Covid relief bill , with progressives pushing to unilaterally advance a massive rescue package while moderate lawmakers insist there’s still time to make a deal, POLITICO’s Burgess Everett, Sarah Ferris and Caitlin Emma report.


The Hill (1/27/2021): White House goes full-throttle on COVID-19 relief talks — The White House is moving forward with a range of meetings with lawmakers and other stakeholders as President Biden urges the passage of his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief proposal.