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What We're Reading: GOP's Plan for Medicaid, Travel Ban Impact, and Merck's Drug Pricing

AJMC Staff
A roundup of top healthcare news stories: January 30, 2017.

GOP’s Plan for Medicaid Could Reduce Access to Breakthrough Treatments

Republicans are considering overhauling the Medicaid program and instituting a spending cap. According to STAT, this proposal would mean the program will struggle to afford breakthrough treatments and reduce its beneficiaries' access to lifesaving medicines. The GOP plan would set a dollar amount for each person in Medicaid and states would have more flexibility to decide program eligibility and the care covered. Republicans argue this will help make the program fiscally sustainable. Opponents claim the strategy would hinder Medicaid’s ability to provide care.

 

President Trump’s Travel Ban Could Impact Science and Healthcare Progress

Protests broke out at airports across the United States as President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning people form 7 countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. The ban could exacerbate the doctor shortage in the United States and subsequently reduce access to care for Americans, reported Forbes. There are 260 people from the 7 countries who have applied for medical residency, and they could potentially see 3000 patients each. Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported that nearly 20% of America’s scientific community is immigrants. Nearly 5000 academics have called the ban “fatally disruptive” and detrimental to the interest of the United States.

 

Merck Provides a Closer Look at Its Drug Pricing

Amid increasing scrutiny and widespread criticism regarding pharmaceutical pricing, Merck has decided to voluntarily offer more information about its pricing practices, according to The Wall Street Journal. The data released showed the average increase for Merck’s brand name drugs peaked at 10.5% in 2014, with list prices rising an average of 9.6% in 2015. The information does not include price increases for individual products. The company plans to release figures every January from now on. Johnson & Johnson has announced it will be the next company to release details about drug price increases.

 
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