The U.S. Senate voted 50 to 49 along party lines early Saturday morning to approve an amended version of the House’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill. According to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s (D-Md.) office, the House could vote on final passage as soon as today. It is expected to pass the bill and send it to President Biden for his signature.
The amended bill includes language that potentially could lead to 340B ceiling prices on some branded drugs being set lower than $0.01 starting in 2024. According to the American Hospital Association, the bill also would allow outpatient drugs used for COVID-19 prevention or treatment to be included in the Medicaid drug rebate program. Other highlights include $8.5 billion to reimburse rural health care providers for health care-related expenses and lost revenues attributable to COVID–19, and $7.6 billion to enable community health centers to carry out COVID-19 vaccine-related activities, for COVID-19 tracking and tracing, and other pandemic response needs.