Six national hospital groups late last week urged Democratic and Republican congressional leaders to exclude language “that would negatively impact 340B” from major drug pricing reforms that could be voted on this week.
The American Hospital Association, 340B Health, America’s Essential Hospitals, Association of American Medical Colleges, Children’s Hospital Association, and Catholic Health Association of the United States made their joint appeal in a letter sent late last Friday, Sept. 24. It went to the top party leaders in the House and Senate and the chairpersons and ranking members of the chambers’ committees with jurisdiction over the 340B, Medicare, and Medicaid programs.
The Biden administration and congressional Democrats want to enact their Build Back Better economic and social welfare agenda—including drug pricing reforms—using a maneuver that would require a simple majority vote in the Senate. Congress could vote on the plan later this week. The plan’s fate is uncertain, however, partly because Democrats can’t agree on what to include among the plan’s drug pricing reforms.
Since the last session of Congress, 340B hospitals, health centers, and clinics have worried about language in House and Senate drug pricing bills that, as the six groups explained in their letter, “would require Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs) to pay for all retail pharmacy drugs, including 340B drugs, based on actual acquisition costs (AAC), effectively eliminating 340B savings for that population for many 340B providers.”
“It is our understanding this language is still being considered this Congress,” the groups said.
“Because 340B hospitals serve a large population of Medicaid patients, this policy would have a
negative impact on the ability of hospitals that use 340B drugs under Medicaid managed care,” the groups said. “It would inhibit their ability to provide services to their patients with low incomes, including the provision of primary care, oncology, and diabetes services as well as providing free or discounted drugs to patients in need.”
“We strongly encourage Congress to ensure that 340B savings are not limited in this way should this language still be considered this Congress,” the groups said.