Power. Progress. Prevention. May 10, 2019

Published on May 10, 2019

Power. Progress. Prevention. -- An Advocacy Newsletter | Prevent Cancer Foundation

May 10, 2019

Justice Department moves to invalidate the Affordable Care Act

Last Wednesday, the Justice Department filed a brief stating the Affordable Care Act (ACA) should be struck down in its entirety. This decision comes after Texas District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled the ACA’s individual mandate unconstitutional after a group of state attorneys general brought the issue to court. 
The brief, which was filed with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, is a reversal from their initial support in allowing parts of the law to remain in effect if the individual mandate was removed. The court will continue to hear arguments in in July; however, until then, the law will remain in effect.
We will continue to monitor the situation and share updates as they happen. Read this article to learn more. 

Drug rebate proposal will increase spending, CBO says

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released an analysis of the Trump administration’s proposal to ban the rebates drug-makers pay to pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). Under this rule, pharmacies would charge patients the discounted list prices that PBMs negotiate with drug manufacturers.
Although the goal of this rebate ban is to lower drug pricing, the CBO report shows that these changes could actually increase federal spending by billions. According to the CBO, over the next decade the plan would:

  • Increase Medicare spending by $187 billion 
  • Increase Medicaid spending by $7 billion
  • Increase Medicare Part D premiums 
  • Lead to drug manufacturers withholding previously negotiated discounts that can’t be used under the new rule (estimated to be 15% of their current rebate amounts) 

The Prevent Cancer Foundation® supports measures that lower prescription drug prices for all patients and urges the administration and members of Congress to work toward a mutually-beneficial solution.

Read the full CBO report to learn more.

Tennessee becomes first state to formally seek Medicaid block grant

Last week, legislators in Tennessee passed a bill requiring the state to submit a Medicaid block grant plan within six months. Block grants provide states funds in one lump sum for their Medicaid-related costs, instead of a per capita cap.
Medicaid funding through federal block grants is a newly-formed concept that was introduced as part of the Section 1115 waiver process, which allows states to make changes to their Medicaid programs in an effort to increase innovation. The administration is still assessing whether or not they can legally grant this flexibility, but some states are lining up to be the first to switch models.
While lawmakers behind the bill assured their constituents it won’t affect coverage, critics are concerned a block grant will limit the availability of services if enrollment grows. There are currently more than 1.3 million people enrolled in Tennessee’s Medicaid plan, which hasn’t joined the federal Medicaid expansion program.

To learn more about the proposed block grant legislation, read this article.

FDA approves sales of Phillip Morris’ new electronic tobacco device, IQOS 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Phillip Morris International’s new heat-not-burn tobacco device, IQOS, for sale in the U.S. after a two-year review process.
Phillip Morris asserts that IQOS, like other electronic cigarettes, could be used as an alternative for smokers looking to quit smoking traditional cigarettes. In their approval, FDA noted that IQOS devices have “fewer or lower levels of some toxins than combustible cigarettes,” and there will be regulations in place to limit youth access and exposure to the device.

The Prevent Cancer Foundation® supports providing safer alternatives for smokers looking to quit, but not at the expense of the health of our youth. IQOS still contains tobacco and has almost the same amount of addictive nicotine as traditional cigarettes. With the rising rates of e-cigarette use among youth, adding another device to the market will only increase these rates.
Read FDA’s news release to learn more about IQOS. 

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