Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Election 2016: What Each Candidate Could Mean for Pharma

Election 2016
Every four years we are inundated with non-stop coverage of the presidential election, with both sides vying contentiously for control of the White House as well as Congress. Thankfully, each election year also brings us the Summer Olympics, which offer a brief but much-needed respite from the talking heads and partisan bickering. For two short weeks, Americans come together to support the heroes who motivate and inspire us all, before returning to the ones who polarize and divide us. It’s easy for all of us to rally behind Michael Phelps and Simone Biles, sharing in their successes and taking pride in the honor they bring to our country. However, reaching a consensus on Trump and Clinton is a different story.

After the Olympics are over and the kids are back in school, Government Pricing professionals will convene in Chicago once again for IIR’s 21st Annual Summit on the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program (MDRP). We will all come with our own opinions and political convictions, but we will also be wondering how our day-to-day responsibilities will be impacted by the election. Although we at Government Pricing Specialists (GPS) don’t have a crystal ball, we can compare and contrast the candidates’ platforms, and how they could change the face of GP. Here are their positions on a few GP-related issues:

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)

• Clinton – Per her website, Clinton would “Defend and expand the Affordable Care Act, which covers 20 million people.”

• Trump – Per Trump’s website, “On day one of the Trump Administration, we will ask Congress to immediately deliver a full repeal of Obamacare.”

• Potential GP Impact:  

Under a Clinton presidency, if the ACA stands, the changes codified in the recent MDRP Final Rule would likely remain in effect but the “Cadillac Tax,” the excise tax on high-cost health insurance plans, would likely be repealed. 

Under a Trump presidency, the legitimacy of the Final Rule could be challenged if the ACA is repealed. However, repealing the ACA may be difficult since taking away a benefit is usually unpopular with voters. If the Republicans control both houses of Congress, it is more likely that substantial changes to the ACA would be introduced but if Democrats control the House of Representatives or the Senate, it is unlikely that we will see significant change.


• Clinton – Per Clinton’s website, she would “Fight for health insurance for the lowest-income Americans in every state by incentivizing states to expand Medicaid – and make enrollment through Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act easier.” 

 Trump – Trump has said that the Federal Government should provide block-grants to the states for Medicaid, that it should be entirely controlled by the states which he believes would reduce the fraud, abuse, and waste. 

 Potential GP Impact:

Under Clinton, if Medicaid enrollment increases, Medicaid sales would likely increase, as would the volume of Medicaid rebates. 

Under Trump, if federal funding is reduced, it could actually put pressure on manufacturers to provide more in terms of rebates. However, Trump believes that his plan to get more Americans working would actually reduce the need for Medicaid because more people would have access to health insurance through their employer.


• Clinton – Per her website, Clinton would “require drug manufacturers to provide rebates for low-income Medicare enrollees that are equivalent to rebates in the Medicaid program.” She would also “Allow Medicare to negotiate drug and biologic prices… Clinton believes that we should drive the best bargain for Americans, and especially for senior citizens, by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, notably for high-cost drugs with limited competition.” Clinton also supports the idea of allowing people to “buy into” Medicare if they do not meet the eligibility requirements.

• Trump – Although he does not specifically address allowing Medicare to negotiate prices on his website, at a January rally in NH Trump supported allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, saying, “Drugs with Medicare, they don’t bid ‘em out… They pay like this wholesale incredible number… They say like $300 billion could be saved if we bid ‘em out. We don’t do it…”

• Potential GP Impact – A proposal to create a rebate program for Medicare, similar to the MDRP, would likely take significant time to pass and be finalized (think of the 6 years we waited for the AMP Final Rule). More likely is an extension of the Medicaid rebate to prescription drugs for “dual eligibles” (participants eligible for Medicaid and Medicare), but even that may take a bit of time. A plan to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices with manufacturers, which both candidates support, although not the GOP at large, could require manufacturers to manage Medicare contracts similar to how they manage their VA contracts.

This election may be the most interesting one in our lifetimes, at least to date. As healthcare and health insurance become a greater part of our nation’s economy, and our own budgets, these issues will continue to receive a lot of focus. Government Pricing has always been the image of that old saying, “May you live in interesting times,” but this election year has become the poster child for it!

We look forward to the MDRP Summit to hear more on the potential GP implications of the 2016 election, and to hear your questions and comments. If you have not already registered, do so today and use code XP2158MISC to get an additional $100 off of the current registration fee. GPS will be onsite and blogging for the 2nd year in a row, so we look forward to seeing you there!


About the Authors: 
Katie Lapins & Dana Zelig Collins, Government Pricing Specialists, LLC, 303.993.6456, ;

No comments: