Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS -

A Se­nate com­mit­tee last week voted to send the nom­i­na­tion of Dr. Scott Got­tlieb as head of the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion to the full Se­nate. Mem­bers of the Se­nate Health, Ed­u­ca­tion, La­bor and Pen­sions Com­mit­tee voted 14-9 to ad­vance Got­tlieb’s nom­i­na­tion as FDA com­mis­sioner. All Repub­li­cans and two Democrats— Shel­don White­house (D-R.I.) and Michael Ben­net (D-Colo.)—voted in fa­vor of Got­tlieb. The Se­nate com­mit­tee vote was post­poned by a day af­ter Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) re­quested more time to re­view doc­u­ments re­lated to Got­tlieb’s fi­nan­cial in­ter­ests. Murray has been highly crit­i­cal of Got­tlieb’s ties to phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies.

One of Bos­ton’s most pres­ti­gious teach­ing hos­pi­tals is of­fer­ing vol­un­tary buy­outs to 1,600 em­ploy­ees as a way to rein in costs dur­ing a pe­riod of un­cer­tainty in health­care. Brigham and Women’s Hos­pi­tal an­nounced it is of­fer­ing buy­outs be­cause ex­penses con­tinue to rise and “con­straints by gov­ern­ment and pay­ers” are keep­ing rev­enue flat, “neg­a­tively af­fect­ing” the hos­pi­tal’s fi­nances. Of­fi­cials say lay­offs are pos­si­ble depend­ing on how many peo­ple ac­cept a buy­out. Physi­cians, fac­ulty and re­search staff are ex­cluded from the of­fer. Brigham and Women’s, an af­fil­i­ate of Har­vard Med­i­cal School, is a found­ing mem­ber of Part­ners Health­Care Sys­tem, the largest health net­work in Mas­sachusetts. It em­ploys about 16,000.

In­sur­ers last week pushed back against a se­ries of tweets from Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump that used cost-shar­ing sub­si­dies as a cud­gel against Democrats in Congress. Trump tweeted last week: “Democrats are try­ing to bail out in­sur­ance com­pa­nies from dis­as­trous #Oba­maCare, and Puerto Rico with your tax dol­lars. Sad!” He con­tin­ued to ham­mer Democrats through­out last week via so­cial me­dia. One of those three tweets asked: “What’s more im­por­tant? Re­build­ing our mil­i­tary—or bail­ing out in­sur­ance com­pa­nies? Ask the Democrats.” Democrats have pushed for Congress to ap­pro­pri­ate funds for cost­shar­ing re­duc­tions, which are cur­rently paid di­rectly by HHS.

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