The FDA plans to crackdown on alternative remedies; Senator Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, says his Obamacare insurer fix will be in the government funding bill; Alabama prepares to drop coverage for 7000 children.
The FDA plans to begin targeting homeopathic medicines that are unproven and pose safety risks. According to AP, the new framework would still leave the majority of products, considered low-risk, on the market. Currently, the FDA does not review safety or effectiveness of homeopathic products and some have recently been the source of major safety problems, such as teething tablets that were tied to seizures and deaths in infants and children. The agency is taking comments for 90 days before it finalizes its plan.
A bipartisan measure that would stabilize Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurer markets is expected to be included in the government funding bill. The bill has to pass by Friday, December 22, to avert a government shutdown, but the inclusion of the ACA fix may set up a showdown with conservatives, reported The Hill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, pledged to Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, that he would support passage of the ACA fix in exchange for her vote on the GOP tax bill, and McConnell also told Senator Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, that there would be action on the bipartisan measure before the end of the year.
With no new funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Alabama has become the first state to announce it is cutting coverage. Kaiser Health News reported Alabama will drop coverage for 7000 kids on January 1, 2018, and will freeze enrollment. If Congress doesn’t act, then the state will close CHIP entirely on February 1, 2018. Other states, including Colorado and Virginia, have begun informing parents that their CHIP programs may also be cut. The director of Alabama’s CHIP program estimates that fewer than 10% of CHIP enrollees will be able to qualify for Medicaid.