What we're reading, November 22, 2016: Virginia declares opioid addiction a public health emergency; House calls for a pause of ongoing Obamacare lawsuit; and Anthem-Cigna antitrust trial begins.
After declaring opioid addiction a public health emergency, Virginia’s health commissioner has made the drug naloxone, used to treat overdoses, widely available. According to The Washington Post, 3 people every day die in Virginia from an overdose and emergency room visits for heroin overdoses are up 89% year over year. Now, the state has issued a blanket prescription for all residents in Virginia to have access to naloxone, and the state’s pharmacies should keep an adequate supply of the drug.
A lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s subsidy program is currently in the Federal Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, but the House of Representatives is asking the court to pause the lawsuit. The move would allow the new administration to have time to decide how to repeal the ACA and unwind the exchanges, reported POLITICO. Without the Department of Justice (DOJ) to defend the health law, the lower court’s ruling against the ACA would stand, eliminating the subsidies and immediately destabilizing the exchange market.
The antitrust trial for the Anthem-Cigna merger kicked off on Monday with the DOJ and Anthem presenting opening statements that provided different perspectives of the impact of the proposed merger. The DOJ is arguing that the merger would reduce competition, while Anthem’s lawyer argued that the merger would increase the scale of operation and allow Anthem to offer better rates, according to The Wall Street Journal. Joseph Swedish, Anthem’s CEO took to the stand yesterday, and is expected to continue testifying today.