What We're Reading: Medical Device Tax; Marijuana and Vaping; Birth Control Without Prescriptions

New legislation would suspend the Affordable Care Act’s medical device tax for 5 years; teenagers are now more likely to vape or use marijuana than smoke cigarettes; California women can access birth control at a pharmacist without a doctor’s prescription, but are unlikely to do so.

GOP Bill Would Halt Medical Device Tax

Teens More Likely to Vape or Use Marijuana Than Cigarettes

Accessing Birth Control Without a Prescription

The medical device tax in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been a controversial provision that has already been delayed. Now, new legislation from Republicans in the House of Representatives could delay the implementation of the tax yet again, reported Forbes. The bill would suspend the 2.3% tax on medical devices sales for another 5 years. Republicans tried to pass a permanent repeal of the tax as part of their attempts to repeal and replace the ACA. Repealing the tax is expected to cost the US Treasury $20 billion over a decade.Cigarette smoking has dropped sharply among teenagers in the United States, and instead, vaping and marijuana use are more common. According to The New York Times, a survey found less than 10% of high school seniors reported smoking cigarettes in the last 30 days compared with 22.9% who used marijuana and 16.6% who had vaped. While the researchers were impressed with the reduction in cigarette smoking, they remain concerned that the health effects of vaping are still unknown. In addition, a very small percentage of respondents believed there was a “great risk” from smoking marijuana occasionally.Although California allows women to get birth control pills at a pharmacy without a prescription from their doctor, few women actually do. Only 11% of pharmacies in the state are dispensing birth control pills, which means women are having a hard time finding a place where they can get their contraceptives, according to Los Angeles Times. Some pharmacists are reluctant to offer birth control bills because of liability, lack of staffing, and reimbursement issues. In order to provide birth control to women, the pharmacist has to administer a questionnaire about health issues.

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