What We're Reading: Amazon Pharmacy Speculation; Successful High-Risk Pools; Penn. Expands HCV Treatment

Is Amazon Gearing Up to Sell Prescription Drugs?

There has been speculation that Amazon is looking to join the pharmacy business. CNBC reported that the business has discussed the idea over the last few years and it has hired a new general manager to formulate a strategy. Amazon has been moving more into the healthcare space, as it has started selling medical supplies and equipment, and a few months ago hired Mark Lyons away from Premera Blue Cross.

How to Make a High-Risk Pool Work

High-risk pools are gaining a lot of attention since the House GOP health plan would let states receive waivers to create such pools. Opponents of the bill have pointed to failed high-risk pools in the past, but one state has made it work: Maine. A Kaiser Health News article has highlighted what it was about the Maine high-risk pool that led to success. Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, explained that a big reason her state made it work was because it had a lot of funding. She noted that the funding in the House bill is one-fifth of what is needed.

Expanding Medicaid Coverage for HCV Treatment

States have been concerned about expanding coverage for hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatments because of the high cost of the newest drugs. However, Pennsylvania has bowed to pressure from advocacy organizations and will expand Medicaid coverage of HCV treatments, reported The Philadelphia Inquirer. Most states have followed the protocol of delaying treatment. Previously in Pennsylvania, patients had to have signs of liver damage before they were approved for treatment; now all patients, regardless of HCV severity, will be covered beginning January 1, 2018.

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