What We're Reading: CSR Bill Updates; Hospital Opioid Shortages; HIV Prevention Disparity

An updated cost sharing reduction (CSR) subsidy bill would cut premiums while making programmatic changes to insurance; hospitals are facing shortages of opioids for patients; there's low usage of HIV prevention medicine among minorities, according to new data.

CSR Bill Updates Could Cut Premiums, CBO Says

An updated cost sharing reduction (CSR) subsidy bill would cut premiums by 10% next year and by 20% in 2020 and 2021, according to preliminary estimates from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The Hill reported that several changes have been made to the bill, first introduced by Senator Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, and Senator Patty Murray, D-Washington, in the hopes that it gets added to a long-term spending package Congress needs to pass next week to avoid another shutdown. The bill to stabilize the Affordable Care Act markets would also include allowing the sale of catastrophic insurance plans to everyone regardless of age, allowing states more flexibility to design their own health plans, and restrictions on using funds for abortions.

Hospitals Face Shortages of Opioids for Patients

Low Takeup of HIV Prevention Medicine Among Minorities, Study Finds

Hospitals across the country are grappling with a different kind of opioid crisis—one that is affecting patients and those in hospice care who need injectable drugs to keep their pain controlled, STAT News reported. The problem stems from a production issue with a third party manufacturer used by Pfizer Inc, which controls 60% of the market for pre-filled syringes of morphine, hydromorphone, and fentanyl.Disparities exist in use of the HIV medicine Truvada when it is used for prevention as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), Kaiser Health News reported. A California study found the rate of PrEP use among black Medi-Cal enrollees was 37% lower than for whites in 2016, even though new diagnoses among blacks are 4 times higher. Latinos had the lowest rate of PrEP usage among Medi-Cal recipients, about one-quarter that of whites. Their rate of new infection was 1.5 times higher. That disparity exists nationwide as well.