What We're Reading: Dispute Over ACA Move; Opioid Settlement; Unvaccinated Minors Banned

March 27, 2019

HHS Secretary Alex Azar and Attorney General Bill Barr opposed the Trump administration’s support to overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through a federal lawsuit; OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma and its owners, the Sackler family, agreed to pay $270 million to avoid a state court trial in Oklahoma over the company’s role in the spread of opioids over the past 20 years; a New York county is banning unvaccinated children in public places in the wake of a measles crisis that has infected more than 150 people.

Azar, Barr Reportedly Opposed to Administration Fighting ACA in Court

HHS Secretary Alex Azar and Attorney General Bill Barr opposed the Trump administration’s support to overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through a federal lawsuit, Politico reported. Allies of White House Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney—the domestic policy chief, Joe Grogan, and the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, Russ Vough—directed the move. HHS insists there is no dispute between Azar and Mulvaney over the lawsuit. With no alternative to the ACA, Azar, Barr, and other Republicans are opposed to making healthcare a political weakness for the president in the wake of the party’s loss of control of the House of Representatives last fall.

Purdue Pharma Settles With Oklahoma for $270 Million in Opioid Case

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma and its owners, the Sackler family, agreed to pay $270 million to avoid a state court trial in Oklahoma over the company’s role in the spread of opioids over the past 20 years, The New York Times reported. The settlement is far larger than 2 previous settlements Purdue Pharma has reached with other states and could impact other settlement talks. Separately, Stefan Kertesz, MD, MSc, a primary care doctor and researcher in the a doctor in the field of addiction, wrote that he hopes that state settlements are used to help pay for the care of people seeking treatment of opioid use disorder.

NY County Declares State of Emergency, Bans Unvaccinated Children From Public Places Due to Measles Epidemic

A New York county is banning unvaccinated children in public places in the wake of a measles crisis that has infected more than 150 children, the Associated Press reported. Under the state of emergency in Rockland County, which lasts for at least 30 days, anyone under 18 who is not vaccinated against measles is barred from public gathering places, including shopping malls, civic centers, schools, restaurants and even houses of worship. Those in violation could be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail.