Monday, July 22, 2019

Monday Mop Up

The Hill reports tonight that the President and Congressional leadership have reached a two year budge deal that also suspends the federal debt ceiling until July 31, 2021.  The House and Senate will seek to pass the budget deal and send it to the President for his signature before the August recess.The faster this legislative act can be completed, the sooner the August recess will arrive.

Healthcare Dive reports on U.S. District Judge Richard Leon's Tunney Act hearing on the fairness of the Justice Department's resolution of antitrust issues stemming from last year's CVS Health acquisition of Aetna. The hearing was held last Friday July 19 in federal court in Washington DC.  Of note,
Several of [Judge] Leon's questions during oral argument suggested he might consider anticompetitive harms outside the Tunney Act as a basis to reject the settlement.
The judge seemed particularly interested in AIDS Healthcare Foundation lawyer Christopher Casey's suggestion of additional remedies that could be put into place on top of the divestiture of the PDP plans the companies were already required to complete.
Those proposed remedies included requiring CVS allow all rival pharmacies access to to its pharmacy network, allowing all Aetna plan members to opt out of using CVS mail-order pharmacy and allowing all managed care companies access to the CVS Caremark PBM.
Of course, a district court decision invoking such remedies would send the case up to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit for review.

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