Cassidy’s Medicaid pricing bill becomes law

A Medicaid pricing bill that protects American taxpayers and that was proposed by U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) was signed into law by the president on Sept. 27 as part of a continuing resolution (CR) budget package.

Sen. Cassidy’s Fair and Accurate Medicaid Pricing (AMP) Act, S. 1785, which he cosponsored with bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH), on Sept. 26 received U.S. Senate approval in an 81-16 vote as part of the Continuing Appropriations Act of 2020 and the Health Extenders Act of 2019, H.R. 4378. The U.S. House passed the broader bill on Sept. 19 in a 301-123 vote.

“This is a victory for Louisiana families and for Louisiana and American taxpayers,” Sen. Cassidy said. “This will fix a rigged system allowing companies to price gouge taxpayers and patients.”

Specifically, the Fair AMP Act alters certain requirements and definitions under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program relating to rebate calculations by repealing the requirement that drug manufacturers include the prices of certain authorized generic drugs when determining the average manufacturer price (AMP) of brand name drugs, and excludes manufacturers from the definition of “wholesalers” for purposes of rebate calculations, according to the congressional record summary of the bill.

Sen. Cassidy’s office said the bill closes a loophole in the Medicaid rebate program that allows big pharmaceutical companies to overcharge American taxpayers, saving them roughly $3 billion over the next 10 years.

The larger H.R. 4378 provides fiscal year (FY) 2020 continuing appropriations to federal agencies through Nov. 21 as a CR, which prevents a government shutdown that would otherwise occur when FY 2020 begins on Oct. 1 if the 12 regular appropriations bills that fund the federal government for FY 2020 have not been enacted.