The Weekly Insight – June 5

05th Jun 2017

This Week in Review

Last Week from Texas Insight

Health Policy News

  • As lawmakers return to Capitol Hill following the recent recess, the GOP is more pessimistic than ever about their ability to pass healthcare. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) has said “I don’t see a comprehensive healthcare plan this year.” Cornyn (R-TX), however, predicted last Wednesday that the overhaul bill will hit Trump’s desk “by the end of July at the latest.”
  • A majority of the public disapproves of repeal and replace efforts, according to a recent poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Published last Wednesday, the survey found that 55 percent of the public has an unfavorable view of the American Health Care Act. That same percentage of people want the Senate to either make significant changes to the AHCA, or not pass it at all.

  • As healthcare faces continued uncertainty, state insurance commissioners are scrambling to keep insurers from leaving their states. Many commissioners offering new, previously unheard of flexibilities to keep them in the market. Commissioners are trying to stave off their biggest fear – that every carrier pull out of a market, leaving people with no ACA plans to buy.

  • Pennsylvania insurers have asked for prices of their ACA plans to rise by an average of less than 9 percent in 2018. But they also warn that the rate increases could be 23.3 percent higher in 2018 if the ACA’s individual mandate ends.

  • The Trump administration is poised to make changes to the ACA’s birth control coverage mandate, by granting broad exemptions to employers that object on religious or moral grounds. The ACLU is preparing a lawsuit if the rule goes into effect as drafted.

  • The state of Ohio has sued five major drug manufacturers for their role in the opioid epidemic. Filed Wednesday, the lawsuit alleges that these five companies “helped unleash a health care crisis that has had far-reaching financial, social, and deadly consequences in the State of Ohio.” Named in the suit are: Purdue Pharma, Endo Health Solutions, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and subsidiary Cephalon, Johnson & Johnson and subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Allergan. The lawsuit accuses the companies of engaging in marketing campaign to downplay the addiction risks of opioids, and exaggerate the benefits of their use.

  • According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. government may have overpaid drugmaker Mylan N.V. by as much as 1.27 billion between 2006 and 2016 for its EpiPen. The amount is nearly three times a proposed settlement Mylan announced in October.

  • Ben Carson, head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, made controversial comments about poverty beings a “mind-set” issue last week. He suggested that a driven individual, with the “right mind-set,” could lift themselves out of poverty. His comments ignore research and data that suggest living in poverty, and its associated stressors, can rob people of their ability to have the “right mind-set.”

  • Texas state lawmakers have largely failed to take any significant action to address the state’s skyrocketing maternal mortality rate, months after researchers found it is the highest not just in the US, but the entire developed world.