What We're Reading: Cadillac Tax Repeal; Overdose Death Rates Drop; Federal Marijuana Regulation

July 18, 2019

The House voted to repeal the Cadillac tax, which, after being delayed twice, was expected to go into effect in 2022; provisional data releaased by the CDC indicate that drug overdose rates have dropped for the first time in 3 decades; the Center for Science in the Public Interest filed comments with the FDA urging it to take a more active role in regulating marijuana.

House Votes to Repeal Cadillac Tax

The House on Wednesday voted to repeal the High-Cost Plan Tax, also known as the Cadillac tax, which would target high-cost health plans offered by employers to try and limit unnecessary healthcare utilization and control healthcare spending. With opposition from both sides of the aisle, the tax was voted down 419-6, reported The Hill. After being delayed twice, the tax was slated to go into effect in 2022. According to the Congressional Budget Office, repealing the tax will cost the government $196.9 billion over 10 years. It’s unclear whether the Senate will also vote on the measure.

Drug Overdose Rates Drop

For the first time since 1990, drug overdose death rates have dropped, according to the latest provisional data released by the CDC. Between the 12-month period ending December 2017 and the 12-month period ending 2018, there was a 5.1% decline in overdose death rates. There were nearly 68,000 overdose death rates in the 12-month period ending December 2018, compared with approximately 72,000 in the 12-month period ending December 2017. Last month, provisional data offered cautious optimism that rates were expected to drop for the first time in 3 decades. Since the 1990s, drug overdoses have killed approximately 870,000 people.

Calls for Marijuana Regulation

The Center for Science in the Public Interest this week filed comments with the FDA calling on the agency to take a more active role in regulating consumer use of marijuana, arguing that current state legalization approaches combined with a lack of clarity around the federal role will fail to protect consumers. “Decriminalization and legalization of cannabis is occurring at the state level, producing a legal patchwork with inadequate policies and funding to protect consumers,” the center wrote, adding that it is crucial that the FDA asserts its authority to ensure that products are safe, accurately labeled, and free of contaminants, and that consumers are aware of relevant risks.