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340B Insight Podcast

Episode Fourteen: The Biden Administration, New Congress, and 340B

November 23, 2020

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This week, we speak with Rodney Whitlock, former legislative staffer for Republicans on Capitol Hill and Jeremy Sharp, a former Capitol Hill and executive branch staffer for Democrats. Rodney and Jeremy discuss with 340B Health’s Kathryn DiBitetto how the incoming Biden administration and new Congress might affect the 340B program. The conversation also discusses what the congressional lame-duck session before the end of the year will mean for 340B and how hospital advocates should be preparing for the new administration and new Congress. Prior to the interview, we share news updates, including a bipartisan House of Representatives letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar regarding pharmaceutical company attempts to turn 340B into a rebate program. (Transcript)

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Show Notes

This week, we speak with Rodney Whitlock, former legislative staffer for Republicans on Capitol Hill and Jeremy Sharp, a former Capitol Hill and executive branch staffer for Democrats. Rodney and Jeremy discuss with 340B Health’s Kathryn DiBitetto how the incoming Biden administration and new Congress might affect the 340B program. The conversation also discusses what the congressional lame-duck session before the end of the year will mean for 340B and how hospital advocates should be preparing for the new administration and new Congress. Prior to the interview, we share news updates, including a bipartisan House of Representatives letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar regarding pharmaceutical company attempts to turn 340B into a rebate program.  

  • Congress’s Lame-Duck Session and 340B: While it’s not likely there will be new legislation affecting 340B before 2021, Jeremy and Rodney advise 340B professionals to be watchful. Congress has many issues it must resolve in roughly 20 days, including government funding, extension of certain health programs, and a potential COVID-19 stimulus package.
  • President-Elect Biden’s Potential Approach to 340B: Safety-net hospitals are highly relevant in some of President-Elect Biden’s priorities — including controlling the pandemic, increasing access to and affordability of health care, and achieving racial justice and equality. Jeremy speculates that the Biden administration will be less friendly to the pharmaceutical industry. He believes the Biden administration is going to view drug manufacturers’ attacks on 340B contract pharmacies and manufacturers’ attempts to turn 340B into a rebate program as the pharmaceutical industry trying to write its own rules to avoid the law. Still, 340B advocates will need to educate the administration on these issues.
  • What will Happen to the 340B Medicare Part B Cuts? After the Trump administration’s Medicare Part B cuts to 340B hospitals, a new administration could make changes, but Rodney emphasizes that would take time. As it considers the Medicare Part B cuts, the Biden administration also will be focused on Medicare’s impending solvency date and how all payment policies must be considered with that in mind.
  • The Future of Drug Pricing Policy: Major drug pricing legislation will face an uphill battle passing through a potentially divided Congress in the event that Democrats control the House and Republicans maintain control of the Senate. Still, with the addition of new congressional committee leaders and with the Biden administration having some options to act on its own, Rodney and Jeremy say that some action on the issue could occur.
  • Advice for Advocating to the New Congress: Advocacy and outreach to new members of Congress and new congressional staff will be crucial. These new members of Congress and their staffs need to learn about 340B and how it helps safety-net hospitals fulfill their mission.

Check out all of our episodes on the 340B Insight podcast website. You also can stay updated on all 340B Health news and information by visiting our homepage. If you have any questions you’d like us to cover in this podcast, email us at podcast@340BHealth.org.

Episode Resources

  1. House of Representatives Letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar Regarding 340B Rebate Model

  2. Statement Regarding Novartis Cutting Off Access to 340B Pricing Through Community- based Pharmacies

  3. The Health Policy Breakroom

  4. 340B Twitter Chat