U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., received a commitment from President Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary nominee to quickly review Wyoming’s pending Medicaid waiver application.
During a hearing today to review Alex Azar’s nomination to head the Department of Health and Human Services, Enzi noted that Wyoming has been waiting for over two years for approval of a program to improve health outcomes for residents of the Wind River Reservation.
“I obviously don’t know the parameters of the Wyoming waiver, but I will tell you that I am very concerned about the amount of time that you’ve mentioned there that it has been pending,” Azar said. “I want to ensure that if I am confirmed as secretary that [the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] works with the states on any of these demonstration projects or waivers as a very good partner and is responsive and timely. If confirmed, I will get on that right away and look at that for Wyoming.”
Enzi also received assurances from Azar that he would be willing to look at how Medicare pays for drugs based on the value to a patient. Enzi noted that there is already a pharmaceutical company in discussion with the federal government to think differently about how they price their new leukemia drug, based on a patient’s health outcome.
“Some of the rules around government price reporting, and other rules, can be a barrier to that,” Azar said. “I think that there is fairly broad bipartisan support to try to address those to open the door to that so we can ensure they are paying for value and paying for outcome on these medicines.”
During the committee hearing, Enzi said he was impressed by Azar’s experience and work in both the public and private sector. Enzi said this included Azar’s key list of priorities if he were to be confirmed to lead the Health and Human Services department, including drug prices, insurance market affordability and choice, working toward a value-based system in health care and the opioid crisis.