What We're Reading: Sanders' Single-Payer Vision; HHS Ad Pull Investigation; Maryland Opioid Bills

Sen. Bernie Sanders Vows to Introduce Single-Payer Health Plan

In the wake of the American Health Care Act (AHCA)’s failure, Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, told CNN he plans to introduce a “Medicare-for-all” single-payer health plan in Congress, Politico reported. Sanders was optimistic that he could muster bipartisan support for the plan, in part because it could lower prescription drug prices, which has been a goal of President Donald J. Trump. Sanders also voiced satisfaction that the AHCA, which he called “a disastrous piece of legislation,” had been withdrawn by Republicans.

HHS Inspector General to Investigate Freeze of HealthCare.gov Enrollment Ads

The decision by the Trump administration to pull ads for insurance enrollment on HealthCare.gov will be investigated by the office of the HHS inspector general, Modern Healthcare reported. The office sent a letter announcing its intended “fact-finding review” to Senators Patty Murray, D-Washington, and Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, on Friday. After the advertising freeze was announced in late January, the administration later said it would allow the use of social media and e-mails to promote the open enrollment period, but most TV commercials were canceled, which may have played a part in the reduced number of sign-ups.

Maryland Lawmakers Unite to Speed Up Opioid Bill Passage

Legislators in Maryland are putting political affiliation aside as they race against the clock to pass a package of laws aimed at fighting the opioid epidemic before the legislative session ends in 2 weeks, according to the Washington Post. The bills include measures that would establish new treatment centers across the state, require public schools to have overdose-reversal drugs accessible, and provide a yearly boost to the state’s reimbursement rates for substance abuse clinics, among other provisions. Governor Larry Hogan has also proposed legislation that would enforce longer sentences for fentanyl dealers and require physicians to adhere to prescribing guidelines.