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What We’re Reading: Medicaid Health Plans Protect Members; Bayer to Expand R&D in US; Most Fatal Poisonings in Young Children Due to Opioids

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Medicaid plans begin planning for the upcoming lapse in continuous coverage starting April 1, 2023; Bayer plans to spend $1 billion on US pharmaceutical research and development in 2023; opioids were the most common cause of death by poisoning in young children.

Medicaid Health Plans Will Attempt to Protect Members, Profits, After Lapse

Since 2020, when COVID-19 pandemic protections allowed Medicaid enrollees to automatically keep their coverage without needing to reapply. However, beginning April 1, 2023, states can begin disenrolling Medicaid enrollees who no longer qualify and large health care insurers hope to keep enrollees who are still eligible and move those who lose coverage onto Affordable Care Act marketplace plans, reported Kaiser Health News. While the risk enrollees face following the lapse of continues Medicaid enrollment in April is that of large medical bills that they might encounter without coverage, insurers have strong financial incentive to keep members enrolled because states pay them per member, per month. As a result, the more people they cover, the more money they get.

Bayer Intends to Spend $1B on US Pharma R&D in 2023

Drugmaker Bayer AG plans to spend $1 billion on drug research and development in the United States in 2023 as it attempts to double its nationwide sales by the end of 2030, said Sebastian Guth, Bayer’s top US pharmaceutical executive, reported Reuters. He also said in an interview Wednesday that Bayer had increased the number of its US marketing employees by about 50% over the last 3 years and plans to expand on that by another 75% by the end of the decade. The company plans to sell the drugs it’s developing instead of partnering with US companies and intends to build its portfolio of new drugs and improve share prices.

Opioids Most Common Cause of Fatal Poisoning in Young Children, Study Finds

A study found that opioids were the most common cause of fatal poisoning in children ages 5 and younger, with most of the deaths in infants, between 2005 and 2018, according to NBC News. The study was published Wednesday in the journal Pediatrics and detailed that over 47% of poisoning deaths in that age group were due to opioids, increasing from 24% in 2005 to 52% in 2018. The findings shine a light on the impact of the opioid epidemic on children, according to lead study author Christopher Gaw, MD, MBE. He added that the number of fatal opioid poisonings is likely higher because only 40 states log information about child and fetal deaths in the National Fatality Review Case Reporting System, and among those that do, information can vary based on the state’s capacity to conduct inquiries into the circumstances of a child’s death.

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