On government spending, Congress decides not to make a decision

Congress is supposed to complete annual appropriations bills before the fiscal year begins on October 1. But it rarely happens, and this year is no different, as lawmakers scramble to pass a short-term funding bill so they can delay the final project. Decisions until at least December.

Meanwhile, focusing on the midterm elections, House Republicans have laid out a “Commitment to America,” which includes only vague promises about health care. It’s further evidence that the one thing about health care that unites Republicans is their opposition to Democrats’ health policies. It is noteworthy that this latest republican plan does just that Not Proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

This week’s panelists are KHN’s Julie Rovner, Politico’s Alice Miranda Olstein, Stat’s Rachel Kors, and Axios’ Victoria Knight.

Among the points learned from this week’s episode:

  • The short-term funding bill to keep the government open includes a five-year revalidation of FDA user fees, which are charged to drug companies and help pay for many FDA employees. Democrats had hoped to add provisions to this measure that would create regulations on nutritional supplements, cosmetics, and lab tests. The current mandate expires on October 1, and Republicans have insisted they will only support a clean bill that does not contain new government guidance.
  • Also, this government funding bill would not include President Joe Biden’s request for $20 billion to help pay for additional COVID-19 vaccines, testing, and monkeys. Democrats have said they want to extend those programs, but Republicans have rejected that and said the administration has not yet counted all previous appropriations.
  • Biden’s comment on “60 Minutes” that the Covid pandemic is “over” is detrimental to the administration’s efforts to persuade Congress to pass additional funding for the virus.
  • Biden racked up a triumphant run this week and announced successes in the administration’s Medicare priorities. Among them, he said, is the reduction in the Part B premium for next year, which generally covers beneficiaries’ outpatient expenses. But that premium has fallen, mainly because Medicare charged too much in 2022.
  • Medicare premiums this year saw a significant increase because officials predicted that the federal health program would see higher costs associated with the use of Aduhelm, an expensive drug for some Alzheimer’s patients that won tentative approval in 2021 by the Food and Drug Administration. Medicare officials later said they would cover the drug only for patients who also enrolled in a clinical trial, and expectations for drug use have fallen.
  • The proposed agenda for House Republicans pledged to overturn Democrats’ decision this year to allow Medicare to negotiate some drug prices. Although Democrats said the provision would help cut costs, Republicans said they did not like government interference in the private market and feared the measure would stymie innovation.

Also this week, Rovner interviews director Cynthia Lewin, whose new documentary “Battleground” explores how anti-abortion forces have played the long game of abolition Ro.

Plus, for extra credit, panelists recommend their favorite health policy stories for the week that they think you should read too:

Julie Rovner: KHN’sBritain’s hard lessons from handing aged care to private equityWritten by Kristen Spular

Alice Miranda Olstein: KHN’sEmbedded bias: How medical records cultivate discriminationDarius Taher

Rachel Kors: New York times’ “Judging has come to the elderly. You do not have to registerBy Paula Span

Victoria Knight: ForbesMark Cuban considers leaving the shark tank as he bets his legacy on low-cost drugsWritten by Jemima McEvoy

As stated in this week’s episode:

Kaiser Health NewsThis article was reprinted from khn.org Courtesy of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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