What We're Reading: Political Focus on Healthcare Heats Up

What we're reading, November 2, 2016: Donald Trump attacks Obamacare while drug makers pour funding into Republican candidates, and Anthem considers reducing Affordable Care Act participation and is under fire in California for auto-renewals.

Republican candidate Donald Trump has shifted his focus to attacking President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act and its rising premiums. According to The Wall Street Journal, Trump is calling to repeal and replace the law as premiums have risen in battleground states. Hillary Clinton has an edge in the state of Pennsylvania, but the state has been hard hit by premium increases, which are up by an average of 50%. Meanwhile, drug companies have been supporting Republican candidates. The pharmaceutical industry expects a fight over drug prices next year, and a Clinton win with Democrats taking over both the House and the Senate is not a scenario drug makers are comfortable with, reported STAT.

A consumer group in California is suing Anthem Blue Cross because it automatically renewed consumers into plans that have reduced coverage. The consumer group claims Anthem was not properly disclosing to consumers that the plans no longer cover out-of-network costs, reported the Los Angeles Times. The consumer group’s lawyer said that Anthem should have sent a discontinuation notice so customers knew they were losing that coverage. Anthem’s financial results may cause it to cease participating in the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges. According to Bloomberg, the company would join UnitedHealth Group, Aetna, and Humana, which have already reduced their involvement due to poor financial performance and losses. Anthem is currently selling coverage in 14 states and if it decides to scale back participation, then it would be for 2018, not next year.