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October 4 – October 23, 2018

The purpose of this bulletin is to compile a handful of articles relating to health care coverage in the United States that are most pertinent to LIUNA and its health and welfare funds. We hope you find this biweekly bulletin helpful and informative.

CNBC: Juul Asks Regulators To Stop 18 Companies From Selling Lookalike E-Cigarettes

Juul wants regulators to order 18 companies to stop selling e-cigarettes that Juul claims infringe on its patents.

 

The Hill: Study: Insurers Returning To Pre-ObamaCare Profitability

Insurers in the individual market performed better financially in the first six months of 2018 than they have in all of the years of the Affordable Care Act, according to a brief released Friday. 

 

Kaiser Health News: No More Secrets: Congress Bans Pharmacist ‘Gag Orders’ On Drug Prices

For years, most pharmacists couldn’t give customers even a clue about an easy way to save money on prescription drugs. But the restraints are coming off.

 

The New York Times: CVS Health And Aetna $69 Billion Merger Is Approved With Conditions

The Justice Department’s approval of the $69 billion merger between CVS Health and Aetna on Wednesday caps a wave of consolidation among giant health care players that could leave American consumers with less control over their medical care and prescription drugs.

 

NPR: FACT CHECK: Trump's False Claims On 'Medicare For All'

USA Today published an opinion column by President Trump Wednesday in which the president falsely accused Democrats of trying to "eviscerate" Medicare, while defending his own record of protecting health care coverage for seniors and others.

 

The Washington Post: Premiums For Popular ACA Health Insurance Dip For The First Time

The average price tag for the most popular level of insurance sold in the Affordable Care Act’s federal marketplaces is dropping slightly, the first time the rates have stopped going up since the health plans were created a half-dozen years ago.

 

Politico: Trump Issues Rule To Require Drug Prices In TV Ads, Rejecting Industry Plan

The Trump administration on Monday moved to require drugmakers to disclose prices in consumer ads, just hours after branding a pharmaceutical industry transparency plan as inadequate.

 

WBUR: If Your Medical Information Becomes A Moneymaker, Could You Get A Cut?

Hospitals and health plans are increasingly using the huge amount of medical data they collect for research.

 

PBS: Nonprofit Helping Low-Income Patients Describes Itself As ‘Match.com Meets The Peace Corps’

Physician shortages, as well as cost and distance, can make specialty care prohibitive for many low-income patients.

 

The Washington Times: Trump Admin. Loosens Up Obamacare Waiver Rules

States looking to get around Obamacare’s strictures will soon be able to use federal money to help people buy cheaper, skimpier plans, so long as they don’t also eliminate plans that met Obamacare’s earlier requirements, the Trump administration said Monday.

 

STATES IN THE NEWS

 

StarTribune: 'Teledentristry' Expands Preventive Care To More Minnesota Families

In an effort to serve more low-income and uninsured families, Minnesota’s dental industry is returning to a high-tech solution known as teledentistry, which allows dental hygienists to provide preventive care at low cost while supervised electronically by dentists at a different location.

 

The Denver Post: Kaiser Permanente Blames Hospitals, “Unfair Business Practices” For $65 Million Loss In Colorado In Three Years

Kaiser Permanente Colorado, the largest insurer in the state, says skyrocketing hospital prices are the main reason it has recorded losses of $65 million in the last three years, forcing a top-to-bottom review of operations that will herald a more confrontational approach with hospitals.

 

Chicago Tribune: Chicago-Area Hospitals Sending Opioid Overdose Patients Home With Antidote

Patients treated for opioid overdoses at two Oak Lawn hospitals are now leaving those facilities with medication that might save them the next time they overdose.

 

The Sacramento Bee: 2.7 Million Californians Don’t Have Health Insurance. Can That Number Go Lower?

After a streak of steady declines, California’s uninsured rate bottomed out last year with some 2.7 million people still without health coverage.

 

The Baltimore Sun: Attorney General Frosh Appeals To U.S. Supreme Court To Uphold Maryland's Law Curbing Drug Price-Gouging

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh on Friday appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court an earlier decision by a federal court that struck down a Maryland law to curb unreasonable price increases for generic drugs.