PRESIDENT’S BUDGET SEEKS $13 BILLION TO COMBAT OPIOID CRISIS — President Donald Trump’s budget proposal being released this morning seeks $13 billion in new funding for HHS in 2018 and 2019 to combat the opioid crisis, according to a preview released by the administration last night. The White House said the funds will be used to expand access to prevention, treatment and mental health services. The administration has stated that fighting the addiction epidemic is a top priority, but critics have decried the dearth of funding for prevention efforts. More on the White House proposal from Pro’s Brianna Ehley here.
Watch out for big changes at NIOSH: The CDC division dedicated to researching and investigating workplace safety, including mining, may see its CDC funding deeply cut or even zeroed out in today’s budget, two sources tell POLITICO’s Dan Diamond. But it’s not clear yet whether NIOSH is being eliminated completely or moved to the National Institutes of Health, which could preserve much of its funding but raise new questions about its independence and operations.
Budget will propose using cost savings from 340B to bolster hospital payments. The Trump administration will also propose transferring the money it saves by paying less for certain drugs in the 340B discount program to hospitals that provide charity care, reports Pro’s Sarah Karlin-Smith. A smaller portion of those savings would be put into the Medicare trust fund. The White House will also call for a change in reimbursement rates for all Medicare Part B drugs when they are first on the market. More for Pros from Sarah here.
Azar slated to testify three times. HHS Secretary Alex Azar will have a busy week defending his piece of the budget blueprint on Capitol Hill. He’s scheduled to testify in support of the proposal Wednesday before the House Ways and Means Committee. Azar will be back Thursday for a pair of budget hearings before the Senate Finance Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health.
The White House scrambled to rewrite the budget after Congress passed a mammoth budget deal last week that included $300 billion in additional spending over two years. More details on the administration’s budget blueprint from Politico’s Sarah Ferris and Jennifer Scholtes here.
The budget is scheduled to go live at 11:30 a.m. POLITICO’s health care team will be reporting on the details throughout the day.
** A message from PhRMA: Middlemen, like PBMs and insurers, have been shifting more of the costs of your health care to you for years – with deductibles increasing 300% since 2006. http://politi.co/2H50Ciq **
TRUMP TAPS DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF TO LEAD DRUG POLICY OFFICE — President Trump has tapped White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Carroll to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the key office in charge of the administration’s response to the opioid crisis. A White House release Friday said Carroll will serve as acting director and deputy director while he awaits Senate confirmation for the top job.
Carroll is a former lawyer for Trump’s budget office and previously worked as an attorney for Ford Motor Company and held various legal posts in the George W. Bush administration. A review of his LinkedIn page revealed that he has no extensive experience in drug policy, and all of the experts POLITICO contacted who work in the space were unaware of him or his background, explains Brianna Ehley.
Carroll’s appointment to lead the drug office comes just as the White House is expected to propose a massive budget cut to the office, as well as a major restructuring where it will move the two main grant programs it administers into other agencies. POLITICO reported last week that the White House has been freezing out experts at the drug office and relying on political appointees, led byWhite House Counselor Kellyanne Conway, to take charge of the federal response to the opioid crisis.
WELCOME BACK TO MONDAY PULSE — Your fill-in correspondent feels compelled by this opioid-heavy edition to recommend listening to Craig Finn’s “Dennis & Billy.”
With help from Brianna Ehley (@Briannaehley) and Dan Diamond…