The HHS announced an increase in individuals seeking coverage from Healthcare.gov; monkeypox will receive a name change to destigmatize the virus; a gene therapy for hemophilia was approved and is now the most expensive in the world.
The Biden administration announced that there was an increase in new customers seeking health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace on Healthcare.gov, according to AP News. Nearly 3.4 million people have enrolled for coverage, which is an increase of 17% compared with last year. The number of uninsured Americans had previously reached a low of 8% this year. More than 665,000 new individuals have bought plans on the marketplace since open enrollment began. There is no information on the demographics of the new enrollees currently, but marginalized communities, such as Latino and Black communities, have seen a jump in the number of people enrolled in the past 2 years.
The World Health Organization (WHO) plans to change the name for the monkeypox virus. It will now be referred to as “MPOX” in hopes of destigmatizing the virus, according to Politico. The WHO had previously agreed to consider suggestions for a new name for the virus this past summer. The Biden administration had also pressured WHO officials to make the change as quickly as possible and suggested that the United States would change the name if WHO did not act quickly, citing worries that the name was generating too much stigma in the United States, especially to people of color.
The FDA has approved a hemophilia B gene therapy, making the drug, at $3.5 million per dose, the most expensive drug in the world, according to Bloomberg. Etranacogene dezaparvovec-drlb (Hemgenix), produced by CSL Behring and given as a one-time infusion, was able to reduce the number of bleeding events expected in a year by 54%. A total of 94% of patients were also able to clear their schedule of time-consuming and costly infusions of Factor IX, the traditional treatment for hemophilia. Experts believe that the drug may find success despite the price, given the fear of bleeding among patients with hemophilia and the appeal of a one-off infusion.