What We're Reading: ACA Insurer Payments; Drug Expiration Dates; Scoring Repeal-Only Bill

Trump Administration Makes ACA Payments to Insurers

Shortly after the Senate was unable to vote on its bill to repeal and replace parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Trump administration paid insurers key subsidies under the law. According to The Hill, the cost-sharing reduction payments were made just before the deadline for the month of July. However, despite paying this month, the administration has not committed to continuing to pay subsidies in future months. The payments help insurers keep premiums down in the individual market.

Potency and Safety of Drugs Past Expiration

When prescription drugs go past their expiration date, they are typically tossed in the garbage, but they may still be useful. The expiration date on medications is simply a date at which the FDA no longer guarantees the effectiveness of the drugs, but that doesn’t mean the drugs become ineffective or unsafe. Research at the University of California, San Diego, is attempting to ascertain if drugs can be safely used after the expiration date. If they can, it could help reduce waste in the US health system and bring down the cost of care.

CBO Scores ACA Repeal Bill

With the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act off the table now that 4 Republican senators have voiced opposition, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) is reviving the idea of a straight repeal of the ACA. The CBO recently scored such a proposal and found that under the legislation, which is an update to a 2015 bill passed by Republicans and vetoed by President Barack Obama, 17 million Americans would lose their insurance within the first year, reported Politico. The repeal bill would end Medicaid expansion and most of the ACA's taxes, but premiums would increase by 25% during the first year.