What we're reading: California's assisted suicide law will take effect June 9; a majority of drugs in Medicare Part D require coinsurance; and Senate passes opioid abuse bill 94-1.
California’s assisted suicide law, which allows doctors to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to terminally ill patients who want to hasten their death, will take effect June 9. According to the LA Times, the co-author of the law expects patients will begin having discussions with their doctors before June 9. The law, which was passed using controversial legislative tactics, still has vocal critics who plan to limit the law’s reach and prevent any expansion of the law.
A majority of drugs in Medicare Part D require patients to spend money for coinsurance, according to a new report. In 2014, only 35% of Medicare Part D drugs required coinsurance compared with 58% this year, reported CNBC. The report found that Medicare Advantage plans are less likely to have coinsurance: just 26% of the drugs in these plans had a coinsurance requirement in 2016.
The Senate passed legislation to combat the growing epidemic of heroin and painkiller abuse. The Washington Post reported that the upcoming elections may have played a role in support for the bill—some Republicans facing tough re-elections have been very vocal in their support and even supported the ultimately unsuccessful effort by Democrats to add $600 million to the bill. The bill has had wide bipartisan support and passed 94-1 with presidential candidates Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) missing the vote.