MedPage Today: Former CMS Chiefs Debate Drug Prices – Slavitt, McClellan square off

  • by Shannon Firth, Washington Correspondent, MedPage Today

WASHINGTON — Two former government officials sparred over the best way to tackle out-of-control healthcare spending at the Healthcare Costs Innovation Summit, sponsored by West Health, on Wednesday.

While they agreed on certain issues, like the gridlock in Congress, things got interesting when the issue of drug costs popped up.

Andy Slavitt, MBA, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) under President Obama, faced off with Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, professor and director of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy at Duke University, who ran CMS during the George W. Bush administration. They offered sharply different views on the best ways to contain drug prices.

Slavitt supported “the biggest hammer”: Allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices.He said he never understood why the Department of Veterans Affairs could negotiate drug prices for its system when Medicare couldn’t do the same.