CDC Releases Latest Estimate on Health Insurance Coverage Rates

According to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the uninsurance rate remained at historic lows through September 2017. During the first three quarters of the year, only nine percent of people – 28.9 million – in the U.S. were without health insurance. While this figure is not significantly different compared to 2016 rates, it is 19.7 million fewer persons uninsured than in 2010, when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was first enacted.

WH Economic Report Considers Medicaid, Drug Prices, Health Care Consolidation, Obesity

The White House has released the Council of Economic Advisers’ Economic Report of the President, which outlines the Administration’s key economic principles. Among other subjects, the report expresses concerns about the unsustainability of the Medicaid program. It also reiterates the President’s focus on policies to improve drug price competition. The new report indicates that entitlement programs are responsible for artificially raising drug prices. Medicare Part D, for example, prohibits tier-based cost-sharing formularies for low-income enrollees. According to the report, drug companies inflate private sector prices to collect higher post-rebate prices in Medicaid’s best price program – particularly when the Medicaid population is a large share of the drug’s market. The White House report attributes the decline of independent physician practices to the establishment of the meaningful use criteria, citing the cost of purchasing and maintaining electronic medical records that comply with federal reporting requirements. The report also includes a chapter on rising obesity rates.

Upcoming Congressional Meetings and Markups

Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing “The Opioid Crisis: The Role of Technology and Data in Preventing and Treating Addiction;” 10:00 a.m., 430 Dirksen Bldg.; February 27

House Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law hearing “Competition in the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain: The Proposed Merger of CVS Health and Aetna;” 2:00 p.m., 2141 Rayburn Bldg.; February 27

House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Healthcare, Benefits, and Administrative Rules “An Obamacare Failure: The Multi-State Plan Program;” 2:00 p.m., 2154 Rayburn Bldg; February 27

House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing “Combating the Opioid Crisis: Helping Communities Balance Enforcement and Patient Safety;” 10:00 a.m., 2123 Rayburn Bldg.; February 28

House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health field hearing “VA Healthcare: Maximizing Resources in Puerto Rico;” 10:00 a.m., San Juan, PR; March 12

House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health hearing “FY 2019 Department of Veterans Affairs Budget Request for the Veterans Health Administration;” 10:00 a.m., 334 Cannon Bldg.; March 15

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