The James Group Newsletter Vol. 5, Num. 4: FDA Tackles High Drug Prices, Focus on Mental Health Over Guns, ObamaCare Market Fix, Idaho Dispute on Health Insurance, Stricter Medicaid Reqs, Flu Vacc Less Effective, Large Medical Bills for OON



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February 16, 2018 

Volume 5, Number 4

In This Issue

FDA Tackles High Drug Prices

Focus on Mental Health Over Guns

ObamaCare Market Fix

Idaho Dispute on Health Insurance

Stricter Medicaid Requirements

Flu Vaccine Less Effective This Year

Large Medical Bills for Out-of-Network

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Kaiser Health News: FDA Head Vows To Tackle High Drug Prices And Drugmakers ‘Gaming The System’
Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said he will do everything “within my lane” to combat high drug prices and that he sees drug companies “gaming the system to try to block competition” in a multitude of ways in the marketplace. In a wide-ranging interview with Kaiser Health News on Thursday, Gottlieb also said that he wants to speed up the U.S. approval process for generic and “biosimilar” versions of biologic drugs, which are drugs comprised of living organisms, such as plant or animal cells. (Tribble and Szabo, 2/15)

Source: Kaiser

The New York Times: After Florida Shooting, Trump Focuses On Mental Health Over Guns
President Trump announced on Thursday that he would visit Parkland, Fla., where a gunman killed 17 people this week in the deadliest school shooting in years, and would work with state and local leaders “to help secure our schools, and tackle the difficult issue of mental health. ”The president tweeted his condolences to the families of the victims in the hours after the shooting on Wednesday, and as images of terrified students sprinting frantically away from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School dominated the news, Mr. Trump’s aides urged him to make a public statement. But he opted not to say anything more until Thursday, when he delivered a subdued seven-minute speech at the White House. (Rogers, 2/15)

Source: The NY Times

The Hill: GOP Negotiators Meet On ObamaCare Market Fix
Top Republican negotiators on a bill to stabilize ObamaCare markets met on Thursday to discuss a way to bridge the gap between House and Senate measures. GOP Sens. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) and Susan Collins (Maine) met with House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) to discuss an effort to get ObamaCare stability measures included in a coming long-term government funding bill due in March, known as an omnibus. (Sullivan, 2/15)

Source: The Hill

The Wall Street Journal: White House Sidesteps Idaho Dispute On Health Insurance
The dispute has put the new HHS secretary in the political crosshairs, caught between an administration that is seeking to dismantle the ACA and Democrats who insist the health law must continue to be enforced as long as it is still in force. Mr. Azar said the decision last month by the Idaho Department of Insurance to let insurers offer consumer plans that could charge higher premium rates to people with pre-existing conditions was a sign that too many people can’t afford coverage under the ACA. (Armour, 2/15)

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Stateline: Trump’s Historic Medicaid Shift Goes Beyond Work Requirements
Requiring able-bodied adults to work for their Medicaid is just part of the Trump administration’s drive to remake the decades-old health insurance program for the poor. The administration signaled late last year that it welcomes state-based ideas to retool Medicaid and “help individuals live up to their highest potential.” At least 10 states have requested waivers that would allow them to impose work requirements and other obligations. (Ollove, 2/16)

Source: Stateline

The Washington Post: This Season's Flu Vaccine Is Only 36 Percent Effective, But Experts Say You Should Still Get It
This season’s flu vaccine offers limited protection against the viruses sweeping the country, with its overall effectiveness of 36 percent falling to 25 percent against the most virulent and predominant strain, according to a government report released Thursday. (Sun, 2/15)

Source: The Washington Post

The Associated Press: A Surprise No One Wants: Big Medical Bill Even With Coverage
This winter’s nasty flu season may smack patients with a financial side effect: surprise medical bills. People who wind up in the emergency room or need an ambulance can be blindsided by hefty, unexpected charges. This often happens after patients visit a doctor or hospital outside their insurance network so coverage was limited. Insurance deductibles that reset every January and must be paid before coverage begins can make these invoices even more painful. Here’s a look at the issue and some tips for dealing with surprises. (Murphy, 2/14)

Source: The Associated Press


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