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Who Will Lead Health and Human Services Under Trump?
Now that Tom Price has resigned as Secretary of Health and Human Services after an investigation was launched to examine his use of government funds to charter private jets, Dr. Don Wright has replaced Price as the acting secretary, CNN reports. In the interim, some conservatives have thrown out their picks for this position. Modern Healthcare reports that Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the current Food and Drug Administration Commissioner, as well as former Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal, have been suggested for this role. After Republicans struggled with passing legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, they are looking for a leader who can understand and sell legislation to stakeholders.
Pressure Mounts as Congress Misses CHIP Deadline
Funding for Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) lapsed on September 30th, according to an NPR report, as lawmakers largely focused on bills aimed at repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. CHIP provides health coverage for 9 million children nationwide, but states do not have access to additional funding for this program that focuses dollars to lower and middle income families. While children who receive insurance through CHIP are not expected to lose coverage immediately, states like California and Arizona are at a heightened risk as they will run out of money by the end of the year. It is expected that Congress will act quickly, as CHIP has previously received bipartisan support. One proposed deal reinstates ACA-level funding across the next five years and then reduces it by 23 percent over two years.
A Minor Victory Against Price-Gouging
Unlike most countries, the U.S. doesn’t regulate pricing for drugs, allowing pharmaceutical companies to set prices as high as the market will allow. Until recently, Congress has avoided passing laws that would change how drugs are priced, but Maryland might be the first state to take measurable steps toward regulating drug prices. A group representing makers of generic prescription drugs was denied their request to block a law against pharmaceutical price gouging, The Washington Post reports. “Vincent DeMarco, president of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, which lobbied for the legislation, said ‘we are thrilled that Maryland is moving forward and hope that states across the country will copy/paste our landmark law to protect consumers nationwide.’”
Anupam Goel, chief medical information officer for Advocate Health Care, predicts that patients will soon bring along their own healthcare data to appointments, requiring physicians to reckon with and incorporate more data into their treatment plan. In a Healthcare IT article, Anupam predicts that rising access to devices that track, measure and monitor every aspect of people’s’ health will spur them to bring their Apple Watches and FitBits to doctors. This trend is the latest in a healthcare-wide move toward patient ownership and autonomy over data.