What We're Reading: Soda Tax Results; Blocking Drug Imports; UnitedHealth Profits After ACA Exit

The Results of Berkeley’s Soda Tax

The soda tax in Berkeley, California, successfully made residents switch from sugary drinks to healthier options. California Healthline reported that there was a nearly 10% drop in sugary drink sales just 1 year after the tax was enacted. Meanwhile, sales of bottled water were up nearly 16%. In 2014, voters agreed to a 1-cent-per-fluid-ounce tax on sugary drinks. While the tax doesn’t sound like much, the study results show it had an impact, according to the study’s lead author.

Campaigning Against Drug Imports

A nonprofit with ties to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) is running a campaign to prevent drug imports. An analysis by Kaiser Health News found that one-third of groups involved with the nonprofit, the Partnership for Safe Medicines, have received PhRMA funding. The partnership had previously been led by a senior vice president at PhRMA. The ad campaign warns about potential dangers of importing drugs from Canada.

UnitedHealth Announces Profits After ACA Exit

After UnitedHealth pulled back on its involvement in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces, it was able to report that revenue and profits increased. The Wall Street Journal reported that UnitedHealth is calling for a repeal of the ACA’s health insurer tax and more flexible state-based markets. The company has exited nearly all of the ACA exchanges for 2017.