Latest California Healthline Stories
In this episode of “What the Health?” Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Joanne Kenen of Politico, Alice Ollstein of Talking Points Memo and Sarah Jane Tribble of Kaiser Health News discuss some of the under-covered health stories of the past several weeks, including drug price issues, the opioid epidemic and women’s reproductive health.
Following minor surgery, KHN’s consumer columnist sees how easily doctors offer pain pills, fueling epidemic of opioid addiction.
Medicare is examining how rebates and discounts could be shared in some way with Part D beneficiaries to reduce their out-of-pocket costs.
Medicare officials have been discussing a rule change that would give beneficiaries a share of the secretive fees and discounts that are negotiated for prescription drugs.
With the nation’s opioid crisis, urine testing has become a booming business and is especially lucrative for doctors who operate their own labs, a Kaiser Health News investigation finds. And dozens of practitioners have earned ‘the lion’s share’ of their Medicare income exclusively from urine drug screens.
UnitedHealth, a health industry goliath, has its hand in doctors’ offices, surgery centers, technology services and prescription drugs. It is the industry model, and CVS and Aetna, says one expert, are ‘wannabes.’
Gov. Jerry Brown signed the measure, which takes effect next year and will require drug companies to publicly justify big price increases.
“If it gets signed by this governor, it’s going to send shock waves throughout the country,” one legislator says. Pharma has spent $16.8 million to lobbying against this bill and other drug laws in California.
Any momentum to address prescription drug costs has been lost amid rancorous debates over replacing Obamacare and stalled by roadblocks erected via lobbying and industry cash.
The company’s drug spending prediction, far above other insurers in the individual market, has experts scratching their heads. Anthem cites market volatility.