Even Amid Crisis, Congress Could Take Up Part D Reform

With the federal government consumed by responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, the possibility of Congress passing drug-pricing legislation — once a top priority for the Trump administration — might seem dim. But analysts say it’s very possible that something like an overhaul of the Medicare Part D benefit, upon which there is bipartisan agreement, could still make its way into legislation that federal lawmakers pass in the coming weeks or months to address the ongoing public health crisis.

After days of increasingly tense negotiations, the Trump administration and Senate leaders reached a deal in the early hours of March 25 on a stimulus package worth more than $2 trillion that aims to provide relief for Americans and businesses struggling from the widening economic damage wrought by COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic, which as of March 25 caused more than 700 deaths in the U.S., has pummeled the stock market and triggered scores of job losses as many of the country’s most populous cities and states shut down non-essential businesses to slow the virus’ spread.

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Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been working in journalism since 2009 and reporting on the health care industry since 2014. She has covered the many ups and downs of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, the failed health insurer mega-mergers, and hundreds of other storylines spanning subjects such as Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, employer-sponsored insurance, and prescription drug coverage. As the managing editor of Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits, she writes and edits for both publications while overseeing a small team of reporters who also focus on the managed care sector. Before joining AIS Health, she was a senior editor for the e-newsletter Fierce Health Payer, and she started her career as a copy editor at multiple local newspapers. She graduated with a dual degree in journalism and political science from Penn State University.

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