What we're reading, December 23, 2015: CMS releases data on the most expensive Medicare drugs, while HHS reports strong enrollment numbers on HealthCare.gov, and Hillary Clinton outlines a plan to spend $20 billion on Alzheimer's disease research.
CMS has released a new interactive tool with information on Medicare spending on prescription drugs for both Part B and Part D in a bid for greater transparency. The online dashboard allows consumers, policy makers, academics, and other stakeholders see the top 15 drugs by total annual cost, the top 15 drugs by highest spending per Medicare user, and the top 10 drugs with the highest annual increase in total cost in 2014 for both Part B and Part D for a total of 6 lists. There are a total of 80 drugs represented.
As the end of the year draws closer, HHS has announced that enrollment for health coverage through HealthCare.gov is up about one-third over the previous year. A total of 8.2 million consumers have signed up or had their coverage automatically renewed, reported USA Today. In addition, the government is seeing more young people sign up compared to last year, which improves the risk pool and creates a more stable insurance market. There were nearly twice as many consumers younger than 35 years who signed up before the deadline to receive coverage starting January 1, 2016.
Finally, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has called for increased investment in Alzheimer’s disease research. Her plan calls for $2 billion a year for the next 10 years to find a cure for Alzheimer’s. However, The Washington Post noted that Clinton did not offer specifics about where the money would come from.