What We're Reading: Birth Control Mandate; Value-Based Contracts; and Planned Parenthood Funding

Tom Price Considering Ending Birth Control Mandate

As Republicans move to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD, may be eyeing the ACA’s birth control mandate, reported The Hill. As a congressman, Price opposed the mandate, which requires insurance companies cover free contraception. Reversing the mandate could be as easy as HHS excluding birth control from the list of women’s preventive health services that must be provided with no cost sharing.

Harvard Pilgrim Signs 2 New Pay-for-Performance Contracts

In Massachusetts, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care has signed 2 value-based contracts to pay for expensive drugs. Boston Globe reported that the deals are for Enbrel, a rheumatoid arthritis drug that costs about $45,000 a year, and Forteo, an osteoporosis drug that costs about $29,000 a year. The Enbrel contract is for 2 years and includes 6 criteria, while the Forteo contract allows Harvard Pilgrim to pay less for the drug over time if patients take it for 2 years.

Texas Cannot Cut Medicaid Funding to Planned Parenthood

Texas has become the latest state where an attempt to cut Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood has been blocked. According to The New York Times, a federal judge temporarily blocked the state’s efforts because of a lack of evidence that Planned Parenthood providers violated medical or ethical standards. The state’s attorney general said Texas will appeal the injunction.