Less than a day before Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned from his cabinet position amid a week of controversy about his expensive travel habits, his department quietly moved to delay an Obamacare rule that would punish drug companies for knowingly price-gouging.
According to Mic, the rule was supposed to go into effect on Sunday, but on Thursday, the HHS department logged a delay into the federal register — the fourth time they’ve done so this year.
The Affordable Care Act established in 2010 a rule that aids the decades-old 340B program, which helps protect hospitals serving low-income patients from being overcharged for medications that should be discounted. Under the ACA rule, drug manufacturers found to have “knowingly and intentionally” price gouged could receive fines of up to $5,000 per instance of overcharging.
As Mic notes, bringing down the cost of prescriptions was one of President Donald Trump’s campaign promises, and since he’s taken office, he’s criticized “RIPOFF DRUG PRICES” on Twitter. In January, before his inauguration, Trump claimed the pharmaceutical industry was “getting away with murder” in a speech criticizing them and their lobby.
Nevertheless, Politico reported in June that the president’s plan to “reduce the burden of the high cost of drug prescriptions” was likely to be friendly to the industry he blasted six months prior.