With the way that the Trump Administration conducts itself, you’d think that Donald was elected by a vote of corporation heads and not of Americans.
Last Friday, Tom Price, the head of the Department of Health and Human Services, abruptly resigned following a scandal unfolding over his incessant usage of expensive private planes. On Thursday, he managed to get in one last jab at the average American before leaving office.
Under the Affordable Care Act, back in 2010, the Obama Administration enacted a rule meant to protect consumers from price gouging by drug companies. That law was finally set to go into effect this Sunday — but on Thursday, the Department of Health and Human Services delayed its implementation until July, Mic reports.
The rule built off an earlier agreement from the 1990s — the 340B program — that sought to protect hospitals that serve large numbers of low income patients from being overcharged for certain medications. Thursday is the fourth time this year that the Trump Administration has delayed implementation of the measure. If it ever does get implemented, corporations would be charged a $5,000 fine for each instance of verifiable price gouging.
Remarkably, breaking with the Trump Administration’s norm of refusing to comment on important issues, a spokesperson for Health Resources and Services Administration, which heads the 340B program that is supposed to be buttressed by the yet-to-be-implemented new law, claimed that the regulation’s implementation is now delayed.
As Mic notes, for the Trump Administration to shy away from holding drug companies accountable for sky high prices means that the president has — somewhat unsurprisingly — gone back on yet another of his campaign promises.
There’s a good reason for this too — Trump has drug executives literally advising him on health policy. For example, pharmaceutical industry lobbyist Joseph Grogan “runs the White House group focused on lowering drug prices.” Donald Trump’s interests have, since becoming president, lined up squarely with those of corporate America.
The health and human services administration spokesman explaining the government’s position to Mic noted that the government has “an informal process” for taking care of alleged price gouging — but that process has only been used four times since 1996. There is, at present, no solid enforcement mechanism for anti-price gouging regulations.
The program that is meant to be supported by the newly delayed rule was established in order to allow drug companies to have their products be available to Medicaid products. The problem is that drug companies do not always charge the lower prices that they are supposed to in order to be a part of the Medicaid market.
William von Oehsen III, described as “an attorney who helped create the 340B program and has sued drug companies for overcharging,” summed up all of our feelings when he called the situation “sad and infuriating.”
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