Capitol Perspectives

The Capitol Perspectives column is written by John McManus, president and founder of The McManus Group, a consulting firm specializing in strategic policy and political counsel and advocacy for healthcare clients with issues before Congress and the administration. Prior to founding his firm, McManus served Chairman Bill Thomas as the staff director of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, where he led the policy development, negotiations, and drafting of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003. Before working for Chairman Thomas, McManus worked for Eli Lilly & Company as a senior associate and for the Maryland House of Delegates as a research analyst.
  • Countering Provider Consolidation
    Countering Provider Consolidation

    As Congress debates partisan issues such as “Medicare for All” where private health insurance would be outlawed, troubling trends are emerging on healthcare provider consolidation that are driving up costs.

  • Congress Scrutinizes Rx Pricing As Administration Releases Proposal To Ban Rebates

    Despite mounting evidence that pharma costs have flattened recently, the industry, during recent hearings, took licks from members on both side of the aisle in the divided Congress.

  • New Congress Wrestles With ACA And Budget Challenges: Rich Universities A Funding Source?

    The 116th Congress convened under the shadow of a partial government shutdown with Republicans handing the gavel to newly elected Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). House Democrats have made it clear that healthcare will be a key priority, second only to investigating the Trump administration.

  • Rx Industry Under Multifront Siege

    The latest regulatory salvo from the Trump administration on Medicare Part D and the Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives has the pharmaceutical industry scrambling to fight a multifront war to defend market-based pricing in the United States.

  • Trump Administration Would Import Foreign Price Controls

    Two weeks before the midterm election, the Trump administration announced a sweeping plan to subject physician-administered drugs in Medicare Part B to foreign price controls. The ANPR “demonstration project” would subject half of the country to the mandatory pricing scheme but will ripple through the entire Medicare program.

  • Told You So! Repeal Of Individual Mandate Penalty Has No Impact

    “Despite predictions that our actions would increase rates and destabilize markets, the opposite has happened,” says CMS Administrator Seema Verma.

  • Rollout Begins Of Trump’s Drug Blueprint

    The Trump administration disrupted the typically sleepy August recess with a frenetic release of proposals that implement components of its “Blueprint” on drug pricing. Physician and patient advocates expressed concern that these proposals may result in impaired patient access to needed drug therapy.

  • Democrats And Trump Focus On Pharmaceutical Pricing

    As the midterm elections approach, with the trajectory pointing toward increasing likelihood of the Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives and with each Trump tweet on drug pricing, a feeling of foreboding has settled over the pharmaceutical industry.

  • Reviving The Antibiotic Sector

    A few weeks ago, Novartis became the latest Big Pharma company to depart the antibacterial field, joining Allergan and The Medicines Company, both of which — even though they manufacture the leading critical-need products — have soured on the lousy returns related to this therapeutic area.

  • Medicare Advantage: The Solution To Value-Based Care

    As Congress grapples with complex ways to provide greater care coordination for seniors with multiple chronic conditions and value-based reimbursement schemes for prescription drugs, an obvious solution is being fundamentally ignored: greater enrollment in Medicare Advantage (MA).

  • Trump Unveils Drug Reforms: Rebates To PBMs At Risk

    After months of delay and suspense, in a Rose Garden ceremony, President Trump and HHS Secretary Alex Azar announced a comprehensive approach to prescription drugs, which they claimed would address major challenges.

  • Congress Tackles The Opioid Crisis

    After passing a gargantuan appropriations bill that balloons the deficit by hundreds of billions and funds the government through October, the conventional wisdom in Washington is that Congress is done legislating for the rest of the year, save one major issue: addressing opioids.

  • Vertical Mergers Of Rx Supply Chain Spark Antitrust Concerns

    The recent announcement of two vertical mergers ­— the $52 billion acquisition of Express Scripts, the largest pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) in the country, by Cigna, and the $69 billion purchase of Aetna by CVS Health — raise significant antitrust concerns over how these megacompanies will impact patient access and pharmaceutical pricing.

  • Republicans Forsake Fiscal Restraint And Market-Based Healthcare

    In an incredible show of profligacy, Republicans forsook any notion of fiscal conservatism by substantially increasing discretionary spending by over $2 trillion over the next decade, less than two months after cutting taxes by $1.5 trillion over that same time period.

  • Government’s Absurd View Of The Healthcare System

    The absurdity of the U.S. government’s perspective on the implementation of government-run health programs came into focus recently in the Republican tax overhaul bill as well as the rollout of the new Medicare physician payment system.

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