This Week in Managed Care: November 11, 2016

This week, the top stories in managed care all revolved around the election. Donald Trump's presidency means the Affordable Care Act is expected to be replaced; voters in Colorado rejected a single-payer system; medical marijuana was passed in 4 states; and taxes for soda and tobacco had mixed responses from the states.

I’m Laura Joszt, assistant managing editor at The American Journal of Managed Care. Welcome to This Week in Managed Care from the Managed Markets News Network.

President-Elect Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s upset election as the next president means he will be expected to follow through on his promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Republicans will still control Congress, but Democrats will have enough Senators to block a full repeal if the filibuster remains.

Still, healthcare economist and AJMC board member Austin Frakt, PhD, said this week there’s plenty that Republicans can do to the ACA during the budget reconciliation process, and it’s unclear how they would replace the law that has given coverage to 20 million people. Said Frakt: “Overall we should expect fewer people covered and less spending on healthcare from the government under any kind of replace.”

For more, read the article.

Colorado Votes on Single-Payer System

While the ACA appears in jeopardy, voters in Colorado were in no rush to replace it with a single payer system.

A ballot proposal to make this switch failed 80% to 20%. Colorado residents would have paid for the plan with a 10% payroll tax, and the federal government could have granted a waiver so that ACA subsidies could be used in the plan.

Voters and Healthcare

Heading into Tuesday’s vote, AJMC spoke with Eleanor Perfetto of the National Health Council about what voters were looking for from a health system. Watch the interview.

Medical Marijuana Votes

On Tuesday, voters in 4 states approved or expanded the use of medical marijuana, which means 28 states and the District of Columbia now allow it to be prescribed for various purposes Arkansas, Florida, Montana, and North Dakota approved the measures, which varied in scope.

Florida’s vote, for example, means that physicians can now prescribe cannabis for patients with HIV/AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder, Crohn’s disease, and other debilitating conditions. Patients must obtain medical marijuana at a state-regulated distribution center.

Read the article.

Soda and Tobacco Taxes

Voters in San Francisco, Oakland, and Albany, California, as well as Boulder, Colorado, approved soda taxes Tuesday. The California cities approved taxes of 1 cent per ounce while Boulder approved a tax of 2 cents per ounce, all levied by the distributor.

Soda taxes seek to reduce obesity, especially in children, and there’s evidence they reduce consumption. Berkeley voters passed a tax in 2014, and a study published in October showed soda consumption has dropped 21%.

Taxes on tobacco have a longer track record of curbing smoking, especially in youth, but Tuesday’s ballot questions had a tougher time with voters. Measures in Missouri, North Dakota, and Colorado all failed, while an 87 cent per pack increase passed in California.

Upcoming Conference Coverage

Starting Sunday, AJMC will bring you coverage from two major conferences, the American Heart Association meeting in New Orleans, and the American College of Rheumatology in Washington, DC.

You can register for our exclusive conference coverage and more by clicking here.

For all of us at The Managed Markets News Network, I’m Laura Joszt. Thanks for joining us.