Midweek Update

Congressional leadership continues to make progress on the must pass omnibus appropriations and tax extenders bills according to the Hill.  Congress is likely to enact a brief extension of the current continuing resolution funding the federal government, which expires on Friday, in order to wrap up its work next week.  Happily, the Hill reports that “Senate negotiators are ready to sign off on a major tax deal that would include a two-year moratorium on two unpopular ObamaCare taxes, the Cadillac tax on expensive plans and the medical device tax.” That outcome would push back the Cadillac tax effective date from 2018 until 2020.

It’s a misnomer to say that it’s a tax on expensive plans because all robust health plans are expensive.  The Cadillac tax is a screwy Affordable Care Act provision that will impose significant burdens on insurers and employers.  No word on the tax extended initiative to repeal the health insurer tax, which only serves to push premiums closer to the Cadillac tax thresholds.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers issued a report today on the top health industry trends for 2016. One of those trends is increase attention on prescription drug pricing. The Wall Street Journal published an intriguing report today on how Pfizer priced a new cancer drug.