Friday, September 23, 2016

Rising Drug Costs, the Government, and the 2016 Election

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Election year is always bound to include debate and discussion over major topics that the public has their eyes and ears on, and this year, one of the most pressing that we are following is rising drug costs - one piece of the health care puzzle that has been at the forefront of many conversations.

PBIRx | Rising Drug Costs | 2016 Election

Thanks to recent price hikes, such as the one seen with EpiPens, it appears that more people are looking for answers from officials about the issues surrounding exceedingly high prescription costs. During a forum sponsored by RealClearHealth and Express Scripts earlier this month, congressmen and industry leaders took an interest in how the rising cost of drugs should be addressed. While some attendees from the left feel that caps on prescription drugs or negotiations between the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and pharmaceutical manufacturers are the answers, others are looking for more transparency and expressed that there needs to be more congressional oversight. Another opinion is that the FDA needs to have a more efficient process for approving new drugs, as they currently have a “backlog of generics to approve,” which encourages prescription costs to keep rising (additional details about the forum available here, via RealClearPolitics).
The Presidential Candidates and Their Health Care Plans
A recent article by MedCity News reports that Democrat Hillary Clinton just announced her plan for how she will respond to “unjustified price hikes for long-available drugs.” Considering that drug makers have hiked prices for about 400 generic drugs by more than 1,000% between 2008 and 2015 alone, part of Clinton’s plan is to “establish dedicated consumer oversight at our public health and competition agencies.” She strives to bring together representatives of federal agencies that are responsible for ensuring health and safety, as well as fair competition, in order to create a group that is dedicated to protecting consumers from such price increases. Should we experience another price hike similar to what happened with EpiPens, for example, it would be this group’s duty to respond (read the full details of Hillary’s health care plans here).

Republican Donald Trump has also expressed his viewpoint on health care reform, with one of his main priorities being to repeal Obamacare. Should he be elected President, some of his other plans include:
  1. To require price transparency from all health care providers, while permitting individuals to find the best prices for their medical needs.
  2. To remove existing barriers to entry into free markets for drug providers that are offering reliable, safe, and cheaper products.
  3. To give individuals the opportunity to fully deduct their health insurance premium payments from their tax returns under the current tax system.
Initiatives such as these have been designed for the purpose of reducing health care costs for more Americans, according to the campaign. Additional details about Trump’s plans can be found here.

Other Government and Health Care News
Insurers such as UnitedHealth Group Inc., Aetna Inc., and Humana Inc. recently announced that they will be pulling back from the Obamacare individual insurance market next year, and as such, earlier this month, President Obama and other health advisers met with other insurance companies to discuss how the marketplace can be strengthened before the open enrollment period begins in November. The President did openly acknowledge that improvements could be made to benefit both consumers and insurers, and says that his administration will focus on enrolling individuals who are still without health coverage, such as young adults. More on this available here, via The Financial Express.

As election day gets closer, be sure to connect with PBIRx on social media and check our blog regularly for updates on health care’s role in the election. For additional information, please call (888) 797-2479.

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