Another Obamacare Oops

by Katrina Trinko

Add this to the annals of formerly unnoticed provisions of Obamacare: children’s hospitals are facing drug price hikes that will cost them hundreds of millions of dollars to supply needed medicine to children with rare diseases. The New York Times reports:

Over the last 18 years, Congress has required drug manufacturers to provide discounts to a variety of health care providers …

Several years ago, Congress broadened the program to include children’s hospitals. But this year Congress, in revising the drug discount program as part of the new health care law, blocked these hospitals from continuing to receive price cuts on orphan drugs intended for treatment of diseases affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the United States.

The reason behind the change is murky, though some drug makers had opposed expansion of the drug discount program. The discounts typically range from 30 percent to 50 percent, and children’s hospitals say the change is costing them hundreds of millions of dollars. …

A House Democrat who worked on the health care law said the situation had resulted from “an honest mistake in drafting,” and he added, “No one intended to take away any of the drug discounts that children’s hospitals already had.”

Two drug companies — Genentech and Allergan — have already notified hospitals that they will no longer be selling discounted drugs.

While the House has passed legislation that would restore the discount to children’s hospitals, the Senate has failed to do so yet.

This isn’t the first Obamacare provision that hurts children. As Matt Shaffer noted in September, most insurance companies have stopped selling child-only insurance policies, which helped families who couldn’t afford insurance for the entire family but wanted to ensure their children were covered.

Well, as Nancy Pelosi said, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”