What We're Reading: ACA Funding and Stabilization; Recycling Drugs; Medications for Pregnant Women

Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, makes her tax bill vote contingent on more Obamacare funding; some states are setting up programs to recycle leftover drugs; and pregnant women deal with medication uncertainty.

Collins Wants More ACA Funding in Tax Bill

In order to vote for the GOP’s tax reform bill, Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, is asking for more money to stabilize the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s markets. According to The Hill, Collins is pushing for Congress to pass 2 ACA bills. The first would provide states with $10 billion over 2 years in order to lower premiums. The second is the ACA market stabilization bill sponsored by Senators Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, and Patty Murray, D-Washington. Collins wants both bills to pass to offset the repeal of the ACA individual mandate in the tax bill, and claims she only voted for the tax bill because she had commitments that the 2 bills would be passed.

Some States Are Recycling Leftover Drugs

When nursing homes and their pharmacies have leftover drugs, they throw them out, but some states are formulating plans to recycle those medicines. When patients at nursing homes pass away, stop using the medicines, or leave the home, the nursing homes were discarding the drugs, ProPublica reported. Iowa has successfully set up a plan to recycle those drugs, 2 other states are setting up similar programs, and other states are beginning to explore the idea. By recycling the drugs, states can inspect excess medications and dispense them for free to needy patients.

Pregnant Women Face Medicine Uncertainty

Federal officials are asking women to tell their stories of the trouble they had making decisions about what medications to use during their pregnancies. Few drugs are approved as safe to use during pregnancy, so most medications pregnant women are prescribed are considered off-label uses, according to STAT. Currently, doctors are left to guess about the right doses since the body changes during pregnancy. The article laid out the concerns on both sides of the dilemma: the risk of exposing pregnant women to drugs that haven’t been proven safe for them or their babies and the reality that millions of women are already exposed to potentially risky drugs but no research has been done on the issue.