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What We're Reading: Health Bill Adjustments; Drug Shortages; HealthCare.gov Maintenance


GOP Tweaks Health Bill for Holdouts

A revised version of the Graham-Cassidy health bill would send more money to Alaska and Maine, the homes of 2 Republican senators who have resisted supporting the health bill. According to The Washington Post, Alaska would get 3% more funding and Maine would get 43% more funding between 2020 and 2026 compared with the current law. Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine have still not decided how they will vote, but if even one of them choses to vote against the bill, assuming Senators John McCain of Arizona and Rand Paul of Kentucky continue to oppose it, Republicans will not have enough votes to pass it.

Hurricane Maria Disrupts Puerto Rico’s Drug Manufacturing

After being hit by Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico’s pharmaceutical industry has come to a grinding halt. There are 50 companies on the island who are unable to continue working with no power on the island, reported USA Today. Even for companies that have backup generators, there are not enough employees around to help restart manufacturing. Pharmaceuticals are 72% of the island’s exports, and those from Puerto Rico make up 25% of total US pharmaceutical exports.

HHS Plans HealthCare.gov Shutdowns During Open Enrollment

HHS has announced plans to take the HealthCare.gov website offline for maintenance for 12 hours during all but 1 Sunday of the open enrollment period, PBS Newshour reports. The timeframe to sign up for 2018 plans on the site had already been halved from the previous year, so it will only last from November 1 to December 15. The site will now be shut down every Sunday from midnight to noon except on December 10. An HHS spokesperson told PBS the schedule was created "to accommodate requests from certified application assisters."

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