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In the Health Reform Update for the past two weeks, pharmaceutical and insurance industry groups are quick to renounce proposals by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to cap out-of-pocket costs for specialty drugs and allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices. Bills to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) excise tax on high-cost health plans gain a bipartisan majority in the U.S. House.
New survey data from the Health and Human Services department and Census Bureau show record coverage gains during the first year plus of full ACA implementation. Kaiser Family Foundation surveys show only modest increases in average premiums but deductible growth that far outpaces wage growth.
Federal audits show all of the state Marketplaces created under the ACA are still not fully operational. Arizona becomes the first state seeking federal approval to modify its traditional ACA expansion of Medicaid. The North Carolina Governor signs legislation privatizing Medicaid, though final approval rests with the Obama Administration.