What We're Reading: Colorado's ACA Exchange Misused $9.7 Million

What we're reading, January 3, 2017: Colorado's Affordable Care Act exchange misused more than $9 million in federal funds; an over-the-counter birth control may be coming to the United States; and returning health data to patients could reduce health record breaches.

Colorado’s healthcare marketplace received $183.7 million from the federal government to set up its exchange under the Affordable Care Act. However, nearly $9.7 million of the grant funds were misused, a new report found. According to The Daily Caller, the majority of the misused funds were spent on improperly awarded and mismanaged contracts, as well as performance bonuses for senior staff without appropriate documentation.

Birth control that is available over-the-counter (OTC) may become available in the United States. While the process could take several years, a French pharmaceutical company is prepared to apply for FDA approval to bring an OTC contraceptive to the US market, reported Vox. The company plans to seek FDA approval for a progestin-only pill, which presents fewer potential problems than pills that combine progestin and estrogen.

Patients may have trouble accessing their health data, but criminals don’t. An opinion piece in The New York Times outlined the so-called “health data conundrum,” in which consumers don’t have control of their medical data, but an epidemic of cybercrime has led to this information being stolen. Currently, millions of patient health records are stored together, which means criminals who breach the database have access to all the information. Storing data in separate units would return control of the data to the patient and prevent massive breaches, the authors argue.