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What We're Reading: Judge Upholds Short-Term Plans; Database Details Opioids' Reach; Mental Health of Detainees

AJMC Staff
A federal judge upheld the Trump administration's expansion of short-term health insurance plans that lack coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act; politicians and others call for change after The Washington Post published a government database tracking nationwide opioid distribution along with unsealed court documents showing the role of various companies in the drug crisis; the plight of mentally ill refugees in the mix of detained undocumented immigrants is going unnoticed.

Federal Judge Upholds Administration's Expansion of Short-Term Health Plans

A federal judge upheld the Trump administration's expansion of short-term health insurance plans that don't meet the coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act, The Hill reported. Insurers who sued the administration said the expansion puts them at an unfair disadvantage, but US District Judge Richard Leon in Washington, DC, wrote in his ruling that the plaintiffs, the Association for Community Affiliated Plans, were unable to prove that the changes actually impacted their enrollment in 2019. The organization said it would appeal the decision.


Politicians, Others React to Publication of Drug Database, Court Papers in Ohio Opioid Case Detailing Extent of Crisis  

Politicians, presidential candidates, drug policy experts, and others reacted over the weekend to The Washington Post’s publication last week of a massive Drug Enforcement Agency database that tracks the distribution of opioids from 2006 to 2012, including the quantity and names of local drugstores. Those reacting called for more accountability and changes in the wake of the opioid epidemic; in addition to the database, The Post reported on thousands of pages of documents unsealed by a judge’s order in a landmark Ohio case against the drug industry’s major players, which made and distributed 76 billion prescription oxycodone and hydrocodone pills all over the country.

Plight of Detained Immigrants With Mental Health Illnesses Drawing Little Notice

While treatment of undocumented immigrants at the border has become an explosive national issue, the plight of mentally ill refugees in the mix hasn’t registered, Politico reported. One estimate puts the number of detainees with mental illnesses between 3000 and 6000; many are not stable enough to participate in their own legal proceedings, so they wait in detention. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials are unequipped to deal with conditions ranging from anxiety to schizophrenia in a detained population that’s grown more than 50% since 2016, to nearly 53,000, advocates said.

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