What we're reading, December 15, 2016: Democrats won't help repeal the Affordable Care Act, but some may help pass a replacement; drug makers push new opioids despite lack of evidence they reduce overdoses; CDC issues Zika virus travel advisory for Texas town.
Republicans will have to pass a repeal of the Affordable Care Act on their own, but Democrats have indicated they may be willing to help pass a replacement bill. According to POLITICO, the GOP will need at least 8 Democrats in the Senate to vote with them to pass the Republicans’ healthcare vision. With a large number of Democrats facing reelection in 2018, including 10 in states that voted for Donald Trump, Democratic senators may be willing to reach across the aisle. However, incoming minority leader Chuck Schumer says Democrats will not work with Republicans on a replacement.
As the healthcare industry searches for a way to fight the opioid epidemic, drug makers are pushing their own solution. The new generation of opioids have abuse-deterrent formulations and make a lot of money, reported AP. However, critics point out that there is not a lot of proof to show that these new opioids actually reduce rates of overdoses and deaths. The FDA has approved a few of these drugs, but Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, director of the CDC, pointed out that these abuse-deterrent opioids are no less addictive.
The CDC has issued a new travel warning because of the Zika virus. There have been 5 cases of locally transmitted Zika in Brownsville, Texas, which is on the border of Mexico, according to The Washington Post. The CDC is urging pregnant women outside of the town to consider postponing travel there, and it is issuing a warning to local pregnant women and their partners to take strict precautions. The first case was reported on November 28, with 4 additional cases being reported on December 9.