What We’re Reading: Affordable Care Act Update; COVID-19 Booster Effectiveness; Lawsuit Disputes Abortion Pill Ban

Affordable Care Act health care sign-ups are breaking records; updated COVID-19 boosters are proving successful against new variants; GenBioPro, which manufactures mifepristone, has filed suit regarding the constitutionality of a state abortion drug ban.

Record Numbers Pursue Affordable Care Act Health Coverage

This year, a record-breaking 16.3 million people have signed up for insurance coverage during 2023 enrollment under the Affordable Care Act, almost a 50% increase since President Biden took office, said CMS on Wednesday. This total includes 3.6 million newly enrolled people (22%) and 12.7 million who again selected coverage for 2023 or were automatically re-enrolled in their 2022 plans (78%). These numbers follow the Biden-Harris administration’s priority initiative to grow health insurance access and lower health care costs for American families.

Updated COVID-19 Vaccines Effective Against Newest Variants, Says CDC

Brendan Jackson, MD, MPH, who heads the CDC’s COVID-19 response, said new data show that updated vaccines protect people against the most recent COVID-19 variants, reported Reuters. The boosters released in fall 2022 target the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron variants, although right now XBB-related subvariants are dominant. The CDC says that the updated vaccine worked comparably against both BA.5- and XBB/XBB1.5–related infections. The booster showed 52% effectiveness against BA.5 and 48% against XBB/XBB1.5 for those aged 18 to 49 years, and 37% and 43% effectiveness, respectively, for those 65 years and older.

New Lawsuit Confronts West Virginia Abortion Pill Ban

The company GenBioPro, 1 of 2 American producers of mifepristone, the first pill in a 2-drug medication abortion regimen, filed a lawsuit on Wednesday morning contesting the constitutionality of a state ban on the drug, reported The New York Times. This was announced as one of many arguments claiming that FDA approval surpasses obstructive state laws. The case was filed in West Virginia, which has banned abortion except in cases of a medical emergency, an ectopic pregnancy, or a fetus is deemed nonmedically viable, and it was predicted that a ruling in favor could prompt other states that have banned abortion to come forward and disperse the drug. A rejection is predicted to give states banning the drug the opportunity to ban or restrict other medications.

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