A bipartisan group of 228 House lawmakers yesterday urged the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to abandon its proposal to reduce Medicare Part B payment for drugs acquired through the 340B Drug Pricing Program.

“Given the important role that the 340B program plays in our communities, we strongly urge CMS to abandon this proposal and redirect its efforts toward actions to address the cost of drugs via other policies that would not harm our constituents,” the representatives wrote.

CMS has proposed to pay for separately payable, non pass-through drugs purchased through the 340B program at the average sales price minus 22.5%, rather than the current rate of ASP plus 6%. Reps. David McKinley, R-W.Va., Mike Thompson, D-Calif., and David Kustoff, R-Tenn., spearheaded the letter.

“The AHA thanks Representatives McKinley, Thompson, and Kustoff for leading this bipartisan effort to protect patient care by urging CMS to rescind its misguided proposal to reduce Medicare Part B payments for 340B hospitals,” said AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels.

In other 340B news, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) yesterday delayed to July 1 the effective date of its final rule on 340B drug ceiling prices and civil monetary penalties for manufacturers.

"We are delaying the effective date of the Jan. 5, 2017, final rule to July 1, 2018, because the delay will provide stakeholders with additional time to come into compliance and provide time to consider the substantial questions of fact, law and policy raised by the rule,” the agency said. The AHA had opposed any further delay of the rule, which has been subject to multiple delays since January.

“The agency’s rulemaking on these issues began seven years ago, shortly after the passage of the ACA,” the AHA's Nickels said in comments submitted last week. “This process included an advance notice of proposed rulemaking, a notice of proposed rulemaking, a final rule and now an interim final rule. Therefore, there have been extensive opportunities for stakeholders to provide feedback and ample time for HRSA to consider such feedback.”

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