Lawmakers in congressional hearings this week targeted a number of powerful players in the healthcare industry, including Medicare Advantage plans and pharmacy benefit managers, signaling willingness in Washington to impose guardrails on organizations contributing to rising care costs and poor healthcare access.
At a Senate Subcommittee on Investigations Wednesday, lawmakers scrutinized MA insurers — whose profits soared during the COVID-19 pandemic — for denying necessary care that would be covered under traditional Medicare plans.
“I want to put these companies on notice. If you deny lifesaving coverage to seniors, we’re watching, we will expose you, we will demand better, we will pass legislation if necessary, but action will be forthcoming,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., chair of the subcommittee, said during the hearing.
Pharmacy benefit managers also took heat from lawmakers over their role in rising prescription drug costs. At a Ways and Means Subcommittee hearing Wednesday, House lawmakers and experts signaled frustration with PBM market consolidation, but offered little insight into potential legislative or policy actions moving forward.
“The ability of this Congress to break free of the stranglehold of Big Pharma is just not there,” said Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas.
Bipartisan House lawmakers also targeted hospital price transparency requirements in a Tuesday hearing, with Republicans criticizing the Biden administration for doing little to enforce requirements.
Catch up below on the biggest healthcare developments this week on the Hill.