What We're Reading: California Commissioner Wants to Try a Public Option


What we're reading, September 23, 2016: California's insurance commissioner wants to try a public option; Valeant avoids double-digit price hikes with 9.9% increases; maker of Suboxone being sued by 35 states and the District of Columbia for keeping generics off the market.

California’s insurance commissioner said he wants to try a public insurance option at the state level. According to California Healthline, the idea of a public option is being revived with insurers pulling back on their involvement in the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s insurance marketplaces. Health insurers oppose the idea of a public option and the concept was debated as part of the ACA, but did not make the final version of the legislation.

Double-digit price hikes have become a source of great controversy, and Valeant Pharmaceuticals has avoided such a large price hike for 3 of its eye medicines. Instead, Valeant increased all 3 drugs by exactly 9.9%, reported STAT. In the past, Valeant had bought a pair of heart drugs and immediately increased their prices by 525% and 212%. One analyst believes this move is a sign of things to come. A bill in Congress introduced last week would require drug makers justify their pricing before raising prices by more than 10%.

A British company that makes Suboxone (buprenorphine) is being sued by 35 states and the District of Columbia for trying to keep generic versions of the drug off the market. Reuters reported that states are alleging the company took steps to block generic versions when its exclusive right to sell Suboxone neared expiration. Buprenorphine is used to treat patients addicted to painkillers.

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