What We're Reading: $1B Medicare Lawsuit; Healthcare as a Right; Alzheimer Drug Trial Ends

The Department of Justice is moving forward with a $1 billion lawsuit against UnitedHealth Group over Medicare claims; Oregon's legislature is considering adding healthcare as a right to the state's constitution; another trial for an Alzheimer disease drug is stopped.

$1 Billion Medicare Lawsuit Over False Medicare Claims

The Department of Justice (DOJ) can move forward with a $1 billion lawsuit against UnitedHealth Group over Medicare claims. According to Reuters, DOJ is claiming the company wrongly retained more than $1 billion related to invalid diagnostic data related to patients in Medicare Advantage plans. The case alleges UnitedHealth submitted inaccurate or untruthful information and obtained inflated payments but failed to repay the Medicare program.

Oregon Considers Making Healthcare a Right

The state House of Representatives in Oregon has endorsed a bill that would make healthcare a right in the state’s constitution. If the Senate also approves the bill, the constitutional amendment would be considered by Oregon voters in November, reported AP. If the state amends its constitution to make healthcare a right, it would be the first in the country to do so. However, opponents pointed to the lack of a plan to fund making healthcare a right and voiced concerns about the potential for lawsuits against the state.

Trial for Alzheimer Disease Drug Ended

Another drug to treat Alzheimer disease has faced a setback. Merck stopped its final-stage test of verubecestat because it had little or no effect on the disease, according to Bloomberg. Merck was testing the drug under the theory that early treatment could halt damage before it was too late. The drug maker has yet to decide if it will completely end development of the drug. It already has other potential Alzheimer drugs in development.