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March 15, 2024

Washington Roundup

The Wall Street Journal reports on ,

  • President Biden proposed Monday a $7.3 trillion budget for the next fiscal year that would raise taxes on wealthy people and large corporations, trim the deficit and lower the costs of prescription drugs, child care and housing.
  • “The proposal isn’t expected to gain momentum in Congress, but will be a cornerstone of Biden’s re-election campaign as he looks to contrast his economic policies with those of presumed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. The administration has yet to reach an agreement with Congress on the budget for the current fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, and House Republicans have blasted Biden’s new proposal as reckless.
  • "The fiscal 2025 budget would cut the deficit by $3 trillion over the next decade, and it would raise taxes by a net total of $4.9 trillion, or more than 7% above what the U.S. would collect without any policy changes.” 
  • Here’s a link to the OMB page for the FY 2025 budget.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services offers a fact sheet on the budget measures impacting healthcare / health insurance.
  • STAT News calls attention to healthcare points that you might have missed in the President’s FY 2025 budget. For example, 
    • “The budget proposes for the first time a change to the law that would let pharmacists fill prescriptions for brand-name biologics with biosimilars without doctor permission. The measure is part of the administration’s plan to lower drug costs. * * * 
    • “Besides budget boosts for behavioral health services, research, and the 988 crisis hotline, the administration is asking Congress for legislative changes to make mental health care more accessible. Those include eliminating Medicare’s 190-day lifetime limit on psychiatric services in hospitals, which it estimates would cost the program $2.9 billion over 10 years. * * *
    • “Medicare would also have to cover three behavioral health visits without cost-sharing, a move that could cost $1.5 billion over a decade. Biden wants to extend this requirement to private insurers as well, at an estimated cost of $428 million over that time.”
  • HealthDay informs us,
    • The White House on Wednesday launched a nationwide call for more training and better access to the lifesaving opioid overdose drug naloxone.
    • Called the Challenge to Save Lives from Overdose, the initiative urges organizations and businesses to commit to train employees on how to use opioid overdose medications, to keep naloxone in emergency kits and to distribute the drug to employees and customers so they might save a life at home, work or in their communities.
    • “Today, we’re calling on organizations and businesses — big and small, public and private — across the country to help ensure all communities are ready to use this lifesaving tool to reduce opioid deaths,” the White House said in a fact sheet announcing the new initiative. “As the drug supply has gotten more dangerous and lethal, we’re asking allies to join us because we all must do our part to keep communities safe.”
  • The CDC is offering free webinars on the RxDC process on March 27 and April 3. 
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