Healthcare.gov Capacity Being Tested By This Year’s Enrollment Period
The use of the "waiting rooms," which one enrollment activist described as nearly “constant,” comes unusually soon in the open enrollment window.
The Wall Street Journal:
HealthCare.Gov Site Straining To Keep Up With Enrollees
HealthCare.gov has been straining to handle this year’s would-be enrollees, who are frequently being placed in holding areas on the site to avoid crashing the sign-up system, enrollment workers around the country say. Online “waiting rooms,” where people are sent at times when the site’s capacity is stretched, have been deployed regularly since the new sign-up period began last Tuesday, Nov. 1. (Radnofsky, 11/7)
In other national health care news —
The New York Times:
U.S. Enforcing Insurance Law To Help Fight Opioid Abuse
In one of President Obama’s last major health care initiatives, the administration is stepping up enforcement of laws that require equal insurance coverage for mental and physical illnesses, a move officials say will help combat an opioid overdose epidemic. A White House task force on Oct. 27 said insurers needed to understand that coverage for the treatment of drug addiction must be comparable to that for other conditions like depression, schizophrenia, cancer and heart disease. (Pear, 11/7)
Federal Judge Grants Nursing Home Arbitration Injunction
The AHCA argued that the rule exceeds the CMS' statutory authority and is wholly unnecessary to protect the health and safety of residents. In a 40 page-decision released Monday, Judge Michael Mills said he agreed. “As sympathetic as this court may be to the public policy considerations which motivated the rule, it is unwilling to play a role in countenancing the incremental 'creep' of federal agency authority beyond that envisioned by the U.S. Constitution,” Mills wrote. (Dickson, 11/7)
The Wall Street Journal:
Senate Panel Urges FTC To Review Mylan
Lawmakers continued criticizing Mylan NV over its EpiPen injector, with two leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee calling for the Federal Trade Commission to review whether Mylan engaged in anticompetitive practices. Committee chairman Sen. Charles Grassley (R., Iowa) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.) said in a letter to the FTC that the agency should look into issues including school contracts that restricted purchases of EpiPen competitors. (Beckerman, 11/7)
Will FDA Approve A New Antibiotic Despite 'Significant' Safety Issues?
In a dramatic squeaker, a regulatory panel of experts last Friday narrowly recommended that an antibiotic from Cempra, an upstart developer, should be approved for use. But the 7-to-6 vote suggested an acknowledgement of what one Wall Street analyst calls a “screaming unmet” need for new treatments that outweigh the sort of safety concerns surrounding the product. The meeting was closely watched for two reasons: Cempra pitched solithromycin as an answer to the problem of antibiotic resistance, a huge public health issue. At the same time, the Cempra antibiotic demonstrated a “significant safety signal” and is structurally similar to Ketek, an older antibiotic that caused fatal liver injuries, according to a regulatory review, which was released last Wednesday. (Silverman, 11/7)