Trump Drawing Out Dramatic Public Standoff With Shulkin In Characteristic Method
It's been reported that President Donald Trump wants to fire embattled VA Secretary David Shulkin, but he has yet to make the final move against the secretary who maintains support both on Capitol Hill and with veterans.
The New York Times:
Trump, Famous For ‘You’re Fired,’ Offers V.A. Chief Only Awkward Silence
President Trump wants to replace his secretary of veterans affairs, David Shulkin, but for a man who practically trademarked “You’re fired,” the president is reluctant to pull the trigger, choosing instead to leave the embattled secretary twisting amid reports of his imminent ouster. Mr. Shulkin, a former hospital executive and medical doctor who remains widely popular on Capitol Hill, has so far averted his gaze from the White House and pressed on with his duties, albeit with a diminished profile. (Haberman and Fandos, 3/27)
Veterans Groups Sound The Alarm On Trump's Plan To Replace VA Secretary
Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin appears to be on thin ice with the White House, but Shulkin has maintained a critical bloc of support in the nation's veterans groups, who have come out vocally calling on President Donald Trump to keep him at the helm of the agency. John Rowan, the head of the Vietnam Veterans of America, defended Shulkin on Tuesday, saying that Shulkin has stayed true to the agency's mission of serving America's veterans -- and that he wants to see Shulkin finish what he started. (Summers, 3/27)
In other national health care news —
The Wall Street Journal:
Aetna To Pass On Drug Rebates To Consumers
Aetna Inc. said Tuesday it would pass on drugmaker rebates directly to consumers who take the medications, in the latest move by a health insurer amid pressure to reduce costs and improve transparency around pharmaceuticals. The biggest U.S. insurer, UnitedHealth Group Inc., announced a similar move earlier this month.In recent years, the opaque system surrounding the cost of medicine and sharply increasing drug prices have come under public and government scrutiny. (Hufford, 3/27)
The New York Times:
Medicare Is Cracking Down On Opioids. Doctors Fear Pain Patients Will Suffer.
Medicare officials thought they had finally figured out how to do their part to fix the troubling problem of opioids being overprescribed to the old and disabled: In 2016, a staggering one in three of 43.6 million beneficiaries of the federal health insurance program had been prescribed the painkillers. Medicare, they decided, would now refuse to pay for long-term, high-dose prescriptions; a rule to that effect is expected to be approved on April 2. Some medical experts have praised the regulation as a check on addiction. (Hoffman, 3/27)
Congress Loves Shaming CEOs. Why Hasn't Pharma Been On The Hot Seat?
It’s a rite of passage for executives in the hot seat: get hauled before Congress, sit for bipartisan tirades, squirm in the face of difficult questioning. Over the past six months, lawmakers have dragged in former Equifax CEO Richard Smith, Wells Fargo’s Tim Sloan, and Amtrak’s Richard Anderson. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg could be the next one up. (Mershon, 3/28)
Opioid Crisis Has Cost US Roughly 1M Workers, $702B: Study
The U.S. economy has lost close to 1 million workers and $702 billion due to opioid addiction, according to a study released Tuesday. The American Action Forum (AAF), a right-leaning think tank, analyzed the impact of the opioid epidemic on U.S. labor force participation and output between 1999 and 2015. The group applied findings from previous studies on the economic impact of opioid addiction to data tracking the size of the U.S. workforce and gross domestic product (GDP). (Sylvan, 3/27)
The Associated Press:
Lawsuit Challenges FDA Delay Of E-Cigarette Review
Several anti-smoking groups are suing the Food and Drug Administration over a decision by Trump administration officials to delay the review of e-cigarettes. The lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court argues that the FDA didn't follow proper requirements last year when it decided to push back the deadline for makers of e-cigarettes to submit their products for review. The groups say the delay poses a threat to children's health. (3/27)