What We're Reading: HHS Will Take Swift Action on NC Medicaid Expansion Plan


What we're reading: the Obama administration promises swift action on North Carolina's Medicaid expansion plan; FDA approves long-acting opioid; and a look at where President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald J. Trump stand on 5 areas of health policy and science.

While Republicans in Congress continue to move forward with repealing the Affordable Care Act, North Carolina’s Democrat governor is planning to expand Medicaid. According to McClatchy, the Obama administration plans to move quickly when processing the governor’s request. Governor Roy Cooper sent a letter alerting federal officials of his plan last week. However, Republicans in the state legislature are urging CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt to reject the plan, claiming it is illegal under a 2013 state law that prohibits the governor from expanding Medicaid without the legislature’s support.

The FDA has approved a long-acting opioid that the company claims is abuse deterrent. However, the ruling only allows the drug, Arymo ER, to be labeled as deterring abuse by people who dissolve and inject the drug, but not also by those seeking to snort or chew it, reported Reuters. The drug is intended to be used for long-term opioid treatment for constant pain. Arymo ER is expected to be launched in 3 dosage strengths in the first quarter of 2017.

STAT took a look at 5 areas of health policy and science and how the stances of President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald J. Trump may differ or be surprisingly similar. One area where Trump and Obama are in line is their stance on the opioid crisis: Obama has signed legislation to fund programs to address the crisis and Trump repeatedly acknowledged on the campaign trail the importance of the issue. There are some murky areas where the future is unclear, such as Trump’s plans for medical research. While there are reports he is considering keeping Obama’s director of the National Institutes of Health, Trump has previously made allies of anti-vaccine groups, which worries scientists.

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