ShareFacebook Twitter

Sign In | Register.


Untitled Document

Facebook Twittter


This Week in Health Care Reform: March 23rd, 2018

Lawmakers scramble to finalize a new budget deal ahead of tonight's looming funding deadline; despite the ongoing Sturm und Drang, no course correction is seen on drug prices’ upward trajectory; and, experts continue to process the new study highlighting why we pay so much for health care in this country.

Week in Review

Spending Bill: Ahead of government funding running out at the stroke of midnight, Congressional leaders spent the week in bipartisan, bicameral meetings, as they sought to find compromise on the issues that had heretofore hamstrung negotiations.  Their efforts seem to have paid off as lawmakers were able to unveil their $1.3 trillion spending measure Wednesday evening.  Sidestepping any last-minute derailments, lawmakers in both Chambers of Congress were successful yesterday afternoon and in the wee hours this morning in passing the bill, which then headed to the White House where it was signed by the President this afternoon.

Rx Prices: The rising cost of prescription drugs has (rightfully) captured a lot of our attention.  From one drugmaker’s dramatic decision to price its hepatitis C treatment at $1,000-a-pill to another’s more gradual – albeit, still dramatic – decision to increase the price of its life-saving EpiPen anti-allergy device 17 times over the past decade, the headlines are rife with egregious examples of similar and alarming pricing tactics.  And, yet, despite the rising and persistent turbulence that the issue has caused, a new analysis shows that all that bluster really hasn’t had much, if any, effect on the trend.  In fact, according to the research, pharmaceutical companies have hiked the prices of their drugs at rates significantly outpacing inflation – twenty of these products by more than 200 percent – in the past 14 months alone.

Health Care Spending:
As covered last week, a new study in JAMA shows that we spend nearly twice as much in the U.S. as other high-income countries on our health care, yet we fail to benefit from a corresponding uptick in our health outcomes.  As experts continue to parse through the analysis, lawmakers are pushing forward in their efforts to glean valuable insights from how an increased emphasis on transparency might affect health care prices.  Most recently, that saw a handful of Senators from both sides of the aisle reach out to stakeholders with an overarching goal of crafting legislation that would improve health care transparency and lower costs.      

Return to archives...



We encourage you to stay involved as implementation efforts surrounding health care reform progress.  Visit the Health Action Network and be sure to let us know what's on your mind.



The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is expected to finalize its most recent proposed changes to how the popular Medicare Advantage program is both administered and funded.  While some of CMS’ proposals would help strengthen Medicare Advantage health plans’ ability to provide enhanced, coordinated care to the nearly 20 million beneficiaries enrolled in the program, other provisions being considered would only weaken it.  Hundreds of you, our Health Action Network members, have already raised your voice in support of the ongoing efforts to protect this program and its beneficiaries.  With CMS expected to release its finalized changes shortly, there’s still time for those of you that haven’t taken action to urge your lawmakers to tell CMS to protect Medicare Advantage.  Act now!

You can keep up with the latest by following the Health Action Network on Twitter and by liking us on Facebook.