Targeting Just Part D, New Bill Checks Another Item Off PBM Critics’ Wish List

The Senate Finance Committee recently introduced a bill that adds to a growing swell of legislation aimed at changing how PBMs conduct business. This latest measure, which is focused solely on Medicare Part D, aims to delink PBM compensation from drug list prices and utilization. Industry experts say it is meant to complement, rather than compete with, other legislation that targets a broader range of business practices and insurance markets.

The Patients Before Middlemen (PBM) Act, introduced on June 14, targets just Medicare Part D because that program is where the Senate Finance Committee’s jurisdiction lies, explains James Gelfand, president and CEO of the ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC). And based on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee’s jurisdiction, the legislation that it advanced in May — the Pharmacy Benefit Manager Reform Act — would apply just to employer-based health plans and address issues such as rebate retention and spread pricing.

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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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