Trump highlights health agenda with vow to lower ‘unfair’ drug prices

Trump Highlights Health Agenda With Vow To Lower ‘unfair’ Drug Prices section is one related to the Health and Medical Updates categories, written just as our writer Linda Norton at February 6, 2019, those blogpost probably want to search over that tags agenda, drug, health, highlights, prices, Trump, unfair, vow. We all glad to blissful you moreover providing this another article regarding health and I always updating this post frequenlty.

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By Julie Rovner, Kaiser Health News

It was not the centerpiece, but health was a persistent theme in President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address at the Capitol on Tuesday night.

Although the administration has focused more on issues of trade, taxes and immigration, the president laid out a series of health-related goals, including some that even Democrats indicated could be areas of bipartisan negotiation or compromise. Trump vowed to take on prescription drug prices, pursue an end to the HIV epidemic and boost funding for childhood cancers.

He also took a victory lap for goals promoted by his administration that had been accomplished. “We eliminated the very unpopular Obamacare individual mandate penalty,” he said, referring to the requirement in the Affordable Care Act that most people must have health insurance or pay a fine. It was eliminated as part of the 2017 GOP tax bill, despite backlash from critics that it could undercut Obamacare, after many failed attempts by Republicans to repeal the law.

And Trump noted congressional passage of a “right to try” bill that was supposed to make it easier for terminally ill patients to gain access to experimental medications, but so far few patients have been able to make the law work for them.

The most likely ground for bipartisanship will be the issue of drug prices, where Democrats are as eager as the president to do something to rein in prices that are spiraling upward.

“It is unacceptable that Americans pay vastly more than people in other countries for the exact same drugs, often made in the exact same place. This is wrong, this is unfair, and together we will stop it. We will stop it fast,” he said. “I am asking the Congress to pass legislation that finally takes on the problem of global freeloading and delivers fairness and price transparency for American patients.”

Democrats are cautiously optimistic on the drug price front. “I really am hopeful about making strides on prescription drug legislation this year on a bipartisan basis,” Wendell Primus, top health aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said at a conference for health policy researchers hours before the speech.

But not all of Trump’s claims Tuesday about his efforts on drug pricing stand up to close scrutiny. He proclaimed that “in 2018 drug prices experienced their single-largest decline in 46 years.” The drug-price portion of the consumer price index (CPI) declined slightly last year for the first time since 1972, but prices for many individual drugs are still rising sharply.

Factors beyond the administration’s actions appear to have played the biggest role in the overall slowdown. Drug price increases have slowed largely because patents have expired on expensive, blockbuster drugs and several years have passed since the introduction of expensive medicines to treat hepatitis C, according to independent analysts.

But even as consumer drug prices have moderated, drug spending per hospital admission soared 19 percent from 2015 to 2017, a study sponsored by hospital trade groups found last month. That includes anesthesia drugs, chemotherapy infusions and other medicines that are not counted in the CPI.

Some well-placed Republicans praised the drug price effort. “I expect deep-pocketed interests to oppose anything and everything to protect the status quo,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee. “But the moment is ripe for action and Americans expect us to work together to get the job done.”

News organizations including Kaiser Health News have reported on dozens of cases of surprise hospital bills, unaffordable costs for life-sustaining drugs and other health-expense shocks for patients. Shereese Hickson, whose experience with a $123,000 bill for multiple sclerosis drugs was covered by KHN and National Public Radio, was watching the speech.

“I’m glad he mentioned it,” she said of Trump’s promise to bring transparency and competition to pharmaceutical prices. “But I would like to see if it really will come true. If you do that — that’s going against the drug companies. They’ll be losing money and they’re not going to let that happen.”

Paul Davis — a retired doctor from Findlay, Ohio, whose family’s experience with a $17,850 bill for a simple urine test was detailed in a KHN-NPR “Bill of the Month” feature last year and who met with Trump about surprise billing last month — said he was disappointed Trump did not go into further detail about his health care proposals.

“He didn’t say anything,” he said.

Davis said he would have liked to have heard more about the administration’s recently announced plan to eliminate drug rebates negotiated by middlemen in the Medicare drug program, as well as the recently implemented policy…

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