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Learn about policy issues important to medical schools and teaching hospitals, with Executive Vice President Atul Grover, M.D., Ph.D.

Washington Highlights

Bipartisan Senate Letter Asks Leadership to Prevent Cuts to 340B

December 7, 2017—A bipartisan group of six senators sent a Dec. 5 letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to show support for the 340B Drug Pricing Program and urge the Senate to include legislation in a year-end package, which would prevent the Medicare payment cuts to hospitals that participate in the program.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Nov. 1 issued the Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) final rule that would dramatically reduce the payment rate for certain Medicare Part B drugs purchased through the 340B program from the average sales price (ASP) plus 6 percent to ASP minus 22.5 percent. CMS projects that this will result in an annual reduction of $1.6 billion [see Washington Highlights, Nov. 3].

Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), sent the letter. They also led a “Dear Colleague” letter signed by 57 senators to express concern over the proposed regulation before it was finalized.

The Dec. 5 letter notes that the “340B program has been critical to supporting safety-net providers in helping low-income and vulnerable individuals across the country access affordable, comprehensive health care services for more than 25 years.” It continues, “With a January 1, 2018 start date and over half of the Senate and House of Representatives having expressed concerns with CMS’ rule, we request your help in ensuring the long-term sustainability of the 340B program by preventing these changes in an end of year package.”

In the House, Representatives David McKinley (R-W.Va.) and Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) have introduced legislation (H.R. 4392) that would prevent the cuts from being implemented [see Washington Highlights, Nov. 17]. The bill currently has nearly 100 cosponsors.


Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806


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Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806