What We're Reading: The Race to Save Obamacare Data

What we're reading, December 21, 2016: researchers are racing to download Obamacare data before Donald Trump takes office; tens of millions of Americans import prescriptions illegally; and 4 more criminal charges in Flint water crisis.

Before President-elect Donald J. Trump takes office, researchers are racing to download data on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). POLITICO reported that researchers, and the White House, are worried Trump will remove the data that has been gathered so far from public sites. Democrats may need ACA data to build a case to keep parts of it, but the data can also be crucial for other efforts to reform the healthcare industry. The frenzy to copy healthcare data increased following reports that climate researchers were doing the same. Republicans have dismissed concerns that access to ACA data will end after Trump takes office.

With prices of medications rising in the United States, residents are looking outside the borders to import cheaper prescriptions. According to Kaiser Health News, tens of millions of Americans are illegally buying prescriptions online or while traveling abroad and importing them into the United States because they may cost half or less. And while these medications may be inferior, expired, or counterfeits, they are often the same ones available in the United States. The practice of importing medicine for personal use is illegal, but the law isn’t rigorously enforced.

In Michigan, 4 additional criminal charges have been filed related to the water crisis in Flint. Two of the individuals are former state-appointed emergency managers, and they could face decades in prison, reported The Washington Post. The yearlong investigation determined that the 2 conspired with 2 other Flint employees to enter a contract even though they were told repeatedly that the water plant was not in condition to deliver safe drinking water. There have now been 43 criminal charges filed against 13 current and former state and local officials.