Becerra Testimony Hints At Hard Line on Drug Prices, Medicare Advantage Payments

As policymakers consider proposals to revamp Medicare Part D, HHS secretary nominee and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) during his Senate confirmation hearings last week vowed to make reducing the cost of prescription drugs a priority — although details on such a plan were scant. Meanwhile, his comments around ensuring a “level playing field” between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage could have implications for MA plan reimbursement.

During a Feb. 23 Senate Health Committee hearing, Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was one of several senators who queried Becerra about drug pricing and asked him for “more specificity as to how we take on the drug companies and lower drug costs.” Becerra’s response, which did not appear to satisfy a skeptical Sanders, was that he would “deal with it swiftly” and that the government must take on drugmakers “by trying to go behind the curtain” to determine how they reach their prices.

© 2024 MMIT
Lauren Flynn Kelly

Lauren Flynn Kelly Managing Editor, Radar on Medicare Advantage

Lauren has been covering health business issues since the early 2000s and specializes in in-depth reporting on Medicare Advantage, managed Medicaid and Medicare Part D. She also possesses a deep understanding of the complex world of pharmacy benefit management, having written AIS Health’s Radar on Drug Benefits from 2004 to 2005 and again from 2011 to 2016. In addition to her role as managing editor of Radar on Medicare Advantage, she oversees AIS Health’s publications and manages the health editorial staff. She graduated from Vassar College with a B.A. in English.

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