What We're Reading: Fight Brewing Over Future of Kentucky Exchange

What we're reading, February 12, 2016: the former Kentucky governor is looking to block the current governor's plans to dismantle Kynect; Senator Orrin Hatch speaks out against Medicare negotiation of drug prices; and the link between Zika and microcephaly is growing stronger.

In Kentucky, the former governor, Steve Beshear, is launching an effort to thwart the efforts of the new Republican governor, Matt Bevin, who is starting the process to dismantle the state’s health insurance exchange, Kynect. Beshear announced that an online campaign will educate voters about what is happening to healthcare in Kentucky, according to ABC News. During Beshear’s time as governor, he issued an executive order to expand Medicaid and establish the state exchange.

While some presidential hopefuls, like Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump, are calling for Medicare to have the ability to negotiate drug prices, Senator Orrin Hatch is firmly against it, noting that Medicare negotiation wouldn’t be “a big saver.” Washington Examiner reported that the senator asked HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell if her agency had worked with the president on an executive order that would allow the government to negotiate prices. Hatch is worried the president would issue such an executive order, which Hatch called a “violation of the law.”

The link between the Zika virus and microcephaly is growing stronger, CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee. Studies of babies that died within 24 hours found they had microcephaly, according to the Washington Times. Dr Frieden and Anthony Fauci, MD, infectious disease director at the National Institutes of Health, asked lawmakers to approve the president’s request for emergency funding to fight Zika.