What we're reading, September 7, 2016: Allergan vows to limit drug price hikes; Senate votes again to block Zika funding bill; and CMS will institute a new process to screen people signing up for Obamacare coverage during special enrollment periods.
Public perception of the pharmaceutical industry is low, and is not getting any better with constant reports of drug price increases. However, Allergan is looking to deflect harsh criticism with a new promise to limit price hikes on brand-name drugs, reported STAT. Allergan price hikes will be limited to single-digit percentage increases and occur no more than once a year, the CEO wrote in a blog post. He also said the that the company would avoid major price hikes as products get close to losing their patent protection.
For the third time the Senate voted to block the $1.1 billion funding bill to fight the Zika virus. The Hill reported that Democrats nearly unanimously voted to block the bill because of language targeting funding for Planned Parenthood. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, both vow to get a funding deal out the door by the end of September and some Republicans believe that the party will eventually drop language targeting Planned Parenthood in order to get the bill passed. The New York Times has laid out 5 aspects of the Zika funding battle, which has gone on for months.
CMS will institute a process to screen some people who apply for health insurance coverage on HealthCare.gov during special enrollment periods. According to CNBC, the new process would apply to customers buying health plans in the 38 states on HealthCare.gov. The program is the latest effort by the government to appease unhappy insurers who have complained some customers are signing up for coverage as they get sick and then dropping it. A separate confirmation process implemented earlier this year has already reduced ineligible sign-ups by 15%.