What We're Reading: Co-Op Failures Could Have Been Avoided

What we're reading, December 24, 2015: more than half of Affordable Care Act co-ops will be closed by the end of 2015, but this could have been avoided; 5 senators are pressing CMS for information on containing drug costs; and a task force does not recommend screening all teens and children for high cholesterol.

More than half of the co-ops created by the Affordable Care Act will no longer exist by the end of 2015, but this could have been avoided, according to Modern Healthcare. The co-ops struggled with sick, costly patients who were unfamiliar with health insurance and fewer payments from the federal government than initially promised. However, if Congress had paid out what was promised, the co-ops would not have failed, according to insiders.

Five senators are pressing CMS to provide more information on its efforts to contain prescription drug costs and assist seniors. A letter from the 5 Democrats asks how the agency will improve drug pricing transparency and bring down costs, according to a blog post from the Association of Health Care Journalists. The senators sit on committees that oversee issues related to Medicare, Medicaid, and healthcare costs.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force has determined that there is not enough evidence to recommend screening all children and teens for high cholesterol. The draft recommendation remains unchanged from 2007 as it is unclear if screening before the age of 20 reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease later in life, reported HealthDay. The experts added that potential harms for long-term use of cholesterol-lowering medications is still unknown.