What We're Reading: BCRA Voted Down; Paid Parental Leave; Celgene Fraud Settlement

Senate Votes Down First Health Bill Option

After narrowly voting in favor of the motion to proceed (Vice President Mike Pence had to cast the tie-breaking vote), Senate Republicans went on to vote down the first option for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). According to The Washington Post, the Senate’s health bill was defeated 43-57 with 9 GOP senators defecting. The bill needed to pass with 60 votes since provisions in it made it ineligible to be passed through budget reconciliation, which only requires 50 votes, so leadership did not expect it to pass. The Senate will now take up a bill that repeals the ACA, but delays the effects for 2 years.

Support for Paid Parental Leave Grows

The United States does not guarantee paid leave to care for a new child, a sick family member, or the worker’s own health condition, but there may be bipartisan work to change that. The Trump administration called out paid leave for new parents in its 2018 budget, and Republicans and Democrats have both introduced bills that would allow for paid family leave, reported Kaiser Health News. The Democrats reintroduced a 2013 bill providing up to 60 days leave and 66% of regular wages up to $1000 a week. Republicans propose providing a tax credit to employers offering at least 2 weeks of paid family or medical leave.

Celgene Settles Fraud Lawsuit

Celgene will pay $280 million over claims it marketed 2 cancer drugs, Thalomid and Revlimid, for unapproved uses. The New York Times reported that Celgene will pay $259.3 million of the settlement to the federal government and $20.7 million to 28 states and the District of Columbia. In 2006, Thalomid was approved to treat multiple myeloma, but for years before that, Celgene was marketing it to treat cancer, even though it was approved in 1998 to treat patients with a complication of leprosy.