What We're Reading: Medicare Rates; ACA Support Grows; Opposition to Gottlieb

Medicare Rates Increase Higher Than Expected

Insurers will receive a payment increase of 0.45% next year, which is higher than the expected 0.25% increase. According to The Wall Street Journal, the increase will benefit insurers offering private plans through Medicare Advantage. America’s Health Insurance Plans responded to the news with a call for more flexibility in the program, which covers 18.5 million Americans, or one-third of the total Medicare population.

Support for ACA Grows

For the first time, a majority of Americans now support the Affordable Care Act (ACA). A Gallup poll found 55% of Americans approve of the ACA, up from 42% in November 2016. TIME reported that only 26% want to keep the law unchanged, while a larger proportion (40%) want to make significant changes to the law, but don’t think the ACA should be repealed.

Opposition to Gottlieb

Today, Scott Gottlieb, MD, the nominee to head the FDA, will testify before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee at a confirmation hearing. However, 2 senators have come out as publicly opposing Gottlieb, reported The Wall Street Journal. They cite Gottlieb’s past ties with drug companies and his desire to speed up approvals, which could benefit those companies he has received money from in the past. Gottlieb has said he will divest himself of financial interests that raise ethical concerns and recuse himself from decisions involving more than 20 companies.