Trending News Today: Congressional Democrats Challenge High Drug Costs

Top news of the day from across the healthcare landscape.

Hearing aids can cost upwards of $2000 apiece and may not be significantly more effective than OTC hearing devices that are less costly, according to study reported by Kaiser Health News. These findings strengthen the argument made in legislation proposed in Congress, which would have the FDA set standards for OTC devices to ensure their safety. With these regulations in place, patients with hearing difficulties could purchase the devices without a prescription or exam, but could still be sure that the devices meet federal standards, according to the article.

Yesterday, Democrats in Congress proposed a 3-part approach to lower prescription drug costs, which is a high concern of the general public and President Donald Trump, according to Politico. The legislation aims to put an end to unreasonable price hikes and allows the government to have more control of how much Medicare pays for drugs. The bill would create an independent price gouging enforcer who would identify drugs with unjustifiable price increases and tie the price increases to a fine, according to the article. Pharmaceutical companies would have to justify the price increases to the Department of Health and Human Services. Additionally, the legislation would allow the government to negotiate drug costs on behalf of Medicare Part D, according to Politico.

House Democrats voted down 2 key bills yesterday, despite the fact that the bills were expected to pass easily. Politico reported that Democrats and some Republicans joined together and voted down the 2018 intelligence authorization bill and a bill to replenish funding for the Veterans Choice Program. Both bills were introduced under suspension of the rules, which expedites the debate, but requires a two-thirds majority. Democrats opposed the second bill because it cuts Veterans Affairs funding, according to the article.