Events Calendar (All Times Local)
Club for Growth aims to muscle House moderates into accepting Freedom Caucus health proposal
The conservative Club for Growth said Monday that it is targeting 10 moderate House Republicans with a $1 million ad campaign, offering a glimpse into the right’s strategy for pushing through a GOP health-care overhaul. The ads, set to begin Tuesday, come at the beginning of a two-week congressional recess — and after the latest bid to reconcile warring GOP lawmakers and resurrect the American Health Care Act fell short last week.
The watchdogs keeping an eye on HHS and Obamacare
As long as Obamacare repeal is stalled, the Department of Health and Human Services has said it will uphold the law — but a new watchdog group is trying to find out what officials at HHS and other agencies are saying about it in private. American Oversight, a group of lawyers that launched last month, says it’s going to use the Freedom of Information Act to dig up a lot of emails and other documents about how the Trump administration is making its decisions about Obamacare.
Republicans avoid town halls after health care votes
Reps. Leonard Lance of New Jersey and Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania appear to be the only swing-district Republicans who voted for their party’s bill to replace Obamacare who will directly face constituents over the April recess, according to a USA TODAY analysis of scheduled town halls compiled by Townhallproject.com. Fourteen Republicans from competitive congressional districts sit on the three congressional committees that voted last month for their party’s controversial health care plan before GOP leaders pulled the bill from the House floor because it lacked support to pass.
50-80 Republicans would have voted no on health care proposal, Justin Amash says
U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, a vocal critic of the health care reforms proposed and eventually pulled back by House Republican leadership, said Monday that the bill would have gone down hard had it been brought up for a vote. At a town hall meeting in Cedar Springs Monday, Amash said it wouldn’t have just been members of the House Freedom Caucus opposing the health care plan that was not brought up for a vote last month — he estimated anywhere between 50 and 80 Republicans would have voted no.
Lawmakers Propose Emergency Response Fund for Pandemics
Citing warnings from senior Obama administration officials, lawmakers from both parties are calling on Congress to establish a dedicated funding source to combat infectious disease outbreaks, according to a letter released Monday. The fund, which 21 lawmakers requested in a letter to senior House appropriators, would appropriate $300 million to help the Trump administration “contain and eradicate future infectious disease epidemics.”
Gold Gains With Treasuries and Yen on Haven Demand: Markets Wrap
Gold and Treasuries strengthened with the Japanese yen on lingering investor caution about global security risks and the path of U.S. interest rates. Crude ended this year’s best run.
Trump Administration to Pay Health Law Subsidies Disputed by House
The Trump administration says it is willing to continue paying subsidies to health insurance companies under the Affordable Care Act even though House Republicans say the payments are illegal because Congress never authorized them. The statement sends a small but potentially significant signal to insurers, encouraging them to stay in the market.
GOP owns health care dilemma now, and voter skepticism
Move over, “Obamacare.” The health care debate has shifted to ideas from President Donald Trump and GOP lawmakers in Congress, and most people don’t like what they see.
OU Medical System moves forward without management partner
The Oklahoma University Medical System soon will operate without a hospital system manager for the first time in 20 years. The system’s proposed deal to affiliate with Catholic giant SSM Health fell through last month after nearly six months of due diligence.
Pharma, Biotech and Devices
FDA, industry fear wave of medical-device hacks
Regulators and medical-device-makers are bracing for an expected barrage of hacking attacks even as legal and technical uncertainties leave them in uncharted territory. Tens of millions of electronic health records have been compromised in recent years, a number that is growing and, some say, underreported.
Stada Accepts $5.6 Billion Takeover Offer From Bain, Cinven
Stada Arzneimittel AG agreed to sell itself to Bain Capital and Cinven for 5.3 billion euros ($5.6 billion), giving the private equity firms control of one of the last independent generic-drug businesses in Europe after a long-fought takeover contest. Bain Capital and Cinven will offer 65.28 euros plus a dividend of 0.72 euros per Stada share, the Bad Vilbel, Germany-based drugmaker said in a statement Monday.
OncoMed sinks as cancer drug fails; Bayer opts against licensing drugs
OncoMed Pharmaceuticals Inc said it would discontinue a trial testing experimental stem cell therapy demcizumab as an initial treatment for advanced pancreatic cancer, after the addition of the drug to standard-of-care failed a mid-stage study. OncoMed’s shares plummeted after it also said that Germany’s Bayer AG had decided to not exercise an option to license two of the U.S. company’s other experimental therapies, vantictumab and ipafricept, for “strategic reasons.”
Maryland lawmakers send bill on drug price gouging to Hogan
The Maryland General Assembly has passed a bill intended to fight unwarranted price hikes on “essential” generic drugs. If signed by Gov. Larry Hogan, the bill would make it illegal for generic drug manufacturers to engage in price gouging — defined as an “unconscionable increase in price” — for certain prescription drugs.
Scientists in collaboration with tech billionaire Sean Parker’s Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy may have found a way to predict whether melanoma patients will respond to treatments that target the PD-1 (programmed cell death protein) pathway in tumors through a simple blood test, according to a paper in the scientific journal Nature. The former Facebook president launched the institute with his moniker and persuaded hundreds of top scientists within various research universities across the U.S. to form an alliance to solve cancer using cutting-edge immunotherapy, floating $250 million of his own $3 billion fortune to do so.
Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives
Repealing IPAB Key to Preserving Patient Access to Health Care
As a dermatologic surgeon and president of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association, I value our elderly citizens and proudly treat Medicare patients in my own practice. But the Medicare program and seniors’ access to quality health care faces an imminent threat unless Congress acts rapidly to address it.
Is Obamacare in a ‘Death Spiral’?
The Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces have faced a tough year. They aren’t imploding, but they have experienced high premium increases and insurer exits this year.
Editorial: Which Scott Gottlieb will run the FDA?
Dr. Scott Gottlieb is by far the most conflicted person nominated to run the 111-year-old Food and Drug Administration. He’s received payments from or invested in dozens of companies with business before the agency, earning millions of dollars in the process.
Invisible High-Risk Pools
One of the many challenges to limiting growth in health insurance premiums is how unevenly health care costs are distributed across the population, with a small portion of people making up a large portion of spending. This challenge becomes even greater in a world where some form of guaranteed issue and community rating exist.