What we're reading, June 10, 2016: Carolinas HealthCare System faces antitrust lawsuit; Alaska looks to bail out its Obamacare marketplace; and Pfizer increases drug prices in the US for the second time this year.
The United States Department of Justice has filed an antitrust case against Carolinas HealthCare System. The health system is facing allegations that it stifled competition by demanding insurers not steer consumers to its rivals, reported The Wall Street Journal. The system has 10 hospitals in and around Charlotte, North Carolina. In the case, the Justice Department and North Carolina’s attorney general allege that Carolinas is too big for insurers to ignore.
In Alaska, the heavily Republican state legislature is trying desperately to keep its insurance market from collapsing. The legislature has passed a bill, initially proposed by the governor, to essentially bail out its only remaining Affordable Care Act insurer, according to POLITICO. Alaska is the only state to consider such drastic measures to keep its insurance marketplace from collapsing and health insurance premiums from spiraling out of control. However, the state’s Republican lawmakers say they remain opposed to the Affordable Care Act.
For the second time this year, Pfizer has increased prices for its prescription drugs. According to STAT, the drug maker raised prices last week in the United States by an average of 8.8% following a 10.4% average increase back on January 1. The price increases reported do not reflect rebates or discounts, so the actual increase could be slightly less than half of the listed 8.8%.