Weekend Update

President James Monroe painted by Samuel Morse

Both Houses of Congress will be holding committee meetings and floor votes this week. A House Oversight and Reform subcommittee is holding a hearing on the Postal Service tomorrow, September 14. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will vote on whether to advance John Gibbs nomination to be OPM Director on Wednesday September 16. The FEHBlog will be on the lookout for more news on FY 2021 continuing resolution.

Negotiations between the White House and the pharmaceutical manufacturers have failed because the President signed and made public his most favored nation pricing executive order today. The order requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to implement most favored nation pricing pilot programs for Medicare Parts B and D drugs. The HHS Secretary will select the drugs to be included in the pilots. Action on the Part B pilot must begin immediately. “The model[s] would test whether, for patients who require pharmaceutical treatment, paying no more than the most-favored-nation price would mitigate poor clinical outcomes and increased expenditures associated with high drug costs.” The Hill reports that “The pharmaceutical industry quickly blasted the surprise move and raised the idea of suing to stop it.”.

A friend of the FEHBlog shared this link to a Governing article on how President James Monroe prevented a yellow fever epidemic when he was governor of Virginia 200 years ago. Governing observes “Over the last few months, there have been countless news stories about the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and the 1793 yellow fever outbreak in Philadelphia. We know about these stories because the disease spread and thousands of lives were lost. But the outbreak of 1800 is the example we should remember [because of President Monroe’s actions].” Far be it from the FEHBlog who has read and discussed the Great Influenza to overlook President Monroe’s actions.

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