In the Health Reform Update for this week, the House passes a package of legislation that would postpone or repeal two additional taxes under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), remove the ACA’s age limit on catastrophic plans, prevent the District of Columbia from creating an alternative to the ACA’s individual mandate, and expand the use of health savings accounts. A separate House-passed bill would also speed-up the FDA approval process for over-the counter drugs.
The Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) quickly reverses its suspension of $10.4 billion in ACA risk adjustment payments due to insurers, after major insurers threaten dramatic premium increases. A FDA working group considers allowing the temporary importation of high-cost drugs “in the event of a dramatic price increase for a drug produced by one manufacturer.”
Following two years of double-digit rate hikes, California will hold premium increases to single-digit average while premiums will increase by less than one percent on average in Pennsylvania. Oregon credits its new reinsurance program with keeping premium increases at an eight percent average for next year.
A federal appeals court refuses to reconsider its invalidation of Maryland’s unprecedented law prohibiting price gouging for essential drugs, while a federal judge in South Dakota has removed a ballot initiative that sought to cap drug prices at those paid by the federal Department of Veteran’s Affairs.