The HHS Freeze On Trump Insulin And Epinephrine Rule Isn’t Devious

It seems social media won’t be letting up with fake news any time soon.

Earlier today, the Conservative website, Blunt Force Truth released an expose which paints Biden as a pawn in the pockets of “Big Pharma”.

On Thursday, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) froze Trump’s former drug policy which required community health centers to pass on all their insulin and epinephrine discount savings to patients.

Why the rule was implemented in the first place

The HHS, under Trump, argued that [community health] centers that didn’t pass on the savings to patients wouldn’t qualify for federal grants.

This was done in an effort to prevent price-gouging at centers, but the centers argued they passed the discounts to its customers and the administrative rule would only pose as a burden.

Trump signed an executive order and the rule was finalized in December.

So companies had to play ball, or risk losing funding.

While there are questions about whether a change in policy can be good, bad, a mix, or the best remedy at the time — people have begun posting fake news on social media alleging Biden’s freeze in the policy will inadvertently kill people who rely on insulin and epinephrine. That’s simply not true.

What the freeze actually means

The freeze wasn’t done for nefarious purposes as people have been suggesting on Twitter. And in fact, the article Blunt Force Truth links to is an article from Bloomberg Law which explains why the freeze was done.

It surely wouldn’t be the first time nor is it unorthodox for a new administration to pause and review the previous administrations’ policies. That’s just how policy works in government. The Blunt Force Truth article cites Bloomberg Law which cites another article makes this clear.

A regulatory pause is a common tradition among incoming presidents to ensure that the unfinished policies from the prior administration align with the new one. In many cases, there are no substantial disagreements among the two administrations and the policies can continue on their normal path. But the pause gives incoming officials a chance to weed out the actions that go against the current president’s stance.

Biden could reinstate the rule and this time could be used as something of an audit to internally review which centers were committing to passing on the discounts and which one’s weren’t and if it benefits patients without issues as administrative costs added on to a company could just result in other measures to adjust for such a burden.

In the meantime, since many health centers were already committed to passing down all discount savings before and others made changes to policy to commit to it — there’s no reason for them to switch course now.

For now, the rule will be delayed until at least March 22, and while there’s no guarantee the rule will come back — Biden’s administration still should conduct these reviews.

In any case, it’s difficult drumming up support for any medical center since the U.S. healthcare system is severely flawed and patients are often faced with needlessly expensive bills for services and medicine. But again, this all hinges if centers were already providing discounts or not. Pressuring them to, say, provide a certain percentage could end up doing more harm than good.

But ultimately, it’s unlikely Biden will turn over such a rule if it proved to get any companies who possibly held out on savings to pass them to patients.

Allegations of $138,000 in direct funding from Eli Lily & Co.

The misunderstanding of the rule itself, policies of health centers, and how basic reviews function in government weren’t the only issues raised.

Several people on Twitter pointed to Eli Lily & Co. donating to Joe Biden hence the “Big Pharma” reference in the Blunt Force Truth article. That figure is $138,000.

This was easily disproven and, in fact, it raised just the opposite point if you take a look at Open Secrets (or alternatively, see the images below).

Keep in mind, Open Secrets makes it abundantly clear on their website that companies can’t directly contribute to candidates and party committees.

NOTE: Organizations themselves cannot contribute to candidates and party committees. Figures on this page include contributions and spending by affiliates.

As you can tell, Joe Biden received funding from affiliates of Eli Lily & Co., and those were individuals.

Biden also wouldn’t stand to gain anything by purposely halting the rule. If anything, he’d be drawing attention to the company and jeopardizing whatever alleged side-deal he had with them.

There’s going to more and more misinformation and a misrepresentation of the facts as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris attempt to undo the damage the Trump Administration did.

Ambient Reads will update this story as details become available.

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