The Weekly Insight: October 17, 2017

17th Oct 2017

Texas Insight Reports October 9-13

HHSC: The e-Health Advisory Committee: This meeting held discussion for numerous topics, which included: 1) The eHAC met to receive numerous updates and background information to prepare the Committee for future policy discussion that will shape the two mandated reports they must develop. 2) The Committee rules revision was discussed and they asked for the committee size to be expanded to 24 members. In addition, the by-laws (not available to the public) were adopted. 3) There was a Hurricane Harvey update where lessons were learned about HIE involvement and the access to information by temporary clinics and shelters. A motion was approved that will result in a workgroup being formed that will look at after-action proposals in order to inform future disaster efforts and planning.

Pharma in Texas: Part I: The pharmaceutical industry has experienced strong growth over the last few decades. US spending on prescription drugs comprised more than 12 percent of total health care spending in 2015. Newly developed specialty drugs include life-saving treatments for Hepatitis C, some forms of cancer, and major depression. However, record spending on drugs does not seem to be offsetting or replacing other medical costs but instead appears to be driving overall spending increases. Further, widespread use of prescription drugs, including opioids and psychotropic drugs, are in many cases harming health and endangering lives in Texas and throughout the US, and spawning additional health care and social costs. This posting is the first in a series about pharmaceuticals in Texas. This first installment will provide an introduction to the industry and its growth in the US and the state, and other postings will cover prescription drug use in Texas institutions and other public expenditures for drugs, as well as the opioid crisis in the state.


Federal Healthcare News

Trump to Scrap Critical Health Care Subsidies, Hitting Obamacare Again: President Trump will scrap subsidies to health insurance companies that help pay out-of-pocket costs of low-income people, the White House said late Thursday. His plans were disclosed hours after the president ordered potentially sweeping changes in the nation’s insurance system, including sales of cheaper policies with fewer benefits and fewer protections for consumers.

Insurers Push Back Against Trump’s Cuts to ObamaCare Subsidies: Health care consumers will suffer from President Trump’s decision to cut off ObamaCare’s cost-sharing reduction (CSR) subsidies, two of the largest insurance trade groups said in a statement Friday.

Mich. Governor Stands by Flint Health Crisis Testimony: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) stands by his congressional testimony about his knowledge of health problems stemming from the Flint drinking water crisis despite trial testimony that contradicted him.

Trump’s HHS Defines Life as Beginning at Conception: The Department of Health and Human Services’s new strategic plan defines life as beginning at conception.  “HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception,” reads the draft plan.  It’s a major shift from the Obama administration, which had similar language in its HHS strategic plan but did not include the “beginning at conception” phrase. But the change is in line with the anti-abortion stance of the Trump administration.