Budget, White Paper Provide Insight Into Trump Administration’s Strategy On Drug Pricing | Health Affairs

During his first year in office, President Donald Trump spoke often about the problem of high drug prices but took no action on the subject. President Trump’s new budget proposal and a newly released white paper from the White House Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) aim to change that by laying out a strategy for action moving forward. These documents are, of course, aspirational, but they do provide a window into the administration’s priorities, and they should be evaluated to consider whether the administration has a possibility of achieving its stated goals.

In this post, I review several of the key elements of those proposals, considering their impact on a range of relevant dimensions. I discuss what’s included in the proposals, and, as importantly, what’s left out.

Medicare Reforms
The bulk of the proposed reforms would act on the Medicare and Medicaid programs. For Medicare, the Trump administration’s proposals are largely targeted at 1) assisting beneficiaries with high out-of-pocket costs and 2) realigning incentives to alter prescribing and reimbursement practices.

First, the administration is advancing a set of proposals to assist Medicare Part D beneficiaries with high out-of-pocket costs. Both the white paper and budget proposal argue that plans should be required to share with beneficiaries at the point-of-sale some amount of the rebates the plan negotiates with drug manufacturers. In November, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) already requested public comments on the implementation of this proposal, and it seems as if the budget document’s inclusion of the proposal is evidence that the administration is hoping to move it forward.

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Budget, White Paper Provide Insight Into Trump Administration’s Strategy On Drug Pricing.