The Impact of Medicaid Expansion Under the ACA and the Impact of Changes to 340B, Costs of Services and Pharmaceuticals and More Under Scrutiny.
This week’s Bio Blog examines the impact of decisions – decisions made by lawmakers, lobbyists, and others as they try to create systems that support healthcare. Medicaid expansion under the ACA is under scrutiny, as are contributions made by pharmaceuticals PACS in 2017. An oncologist penned an insightful essay on the impact of changes to 340B on his patients, and Anthem insurance now wants patients to obtain MRIs at independent centers rather than hospital centers.
The Henry J. Kaiser Foundation released the results of a study on the impact of expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Over 153 studies are analyzed, with the impact on care, costs, and quality under scrutiny.
Campaign contributions by pharmaceutical political action committees are under scrutiny. Starting in March 2017, eight pharmaceutical political action committees made 134 contributions. These were spread among 77 politicians and totaled $279,400. Both Republicans and Democrats in both legislative bodies received contributions, according to FEC filings. Merck’s PAC donated the most for a total of $148,000 given to 60 candidates. More details on who received what are included.
The Duke Cancer Institute found that black and impoverished patients received the biggest benefit from the Medicaid-expanded coverage for uninsured cancer patients under the Affordable Care Act. The rate of uninsured cancer patients declined in states without Medicaid expansion. However, improvements appeared to primarily benefit white patients and residents of low-poverty areas.
There were no improvements in uninsured rates for black patients and residents of high-poverty areas in states without Medicaid expansion.
Dr. E. Randolph Broun, an oncologist at Oncology Hematology Care, Inc. in Kenwood, offers his insights and opinions on changes to 340B and how such changes may adversely affect patient care. His clinic runs on community rates, which benefit patients, not profits. His own patients, he asserts, would be inconveniences, and charged more for services similar to what he can provide in his clinic if they are forced to obtain care in a hospital-based setting.
In an effort to control costs, Anthem Healthcare is shifting MRI services from outpatient hospital and health centers to independent MRI centers. In rural areas that lack two or more outpatient MRI centers, hospital facilities may still be approved. Anthem maintains that members can save up to $1,000 for some services on out of pocket costs for patients who have not met their deductible. X-rays and mammogram services are exempt from these changes.
A 53-page whistleblower lawsuit, recently unsealed, alleges that Fort-Meyers based 21st Century Oncology used kickbacks and lobbyist connections to Florida Governor Rick Scott to secure a contract with the Broward Health hospital system. The no-bid contract effectively closed out other bidders. Frank Nask, CEO of 21 Century Oncology, is accused of facilitating a 25-year lucrative deal for the company. David DiPietro, former chairman of Broward Health’s Board of Commissioners, filed the lawsuit. Nask is currently retired from 21st Century Oncology and DiPietro resigned from his board position last year.
Apple, Johnson & Johnson, and several other high-profile technology and healthcare companies have joined an FDA program to fast-track digital health apps. The fast-track process means that the FDA will review each company’s software design, validation, and maintenance before deciding to grant precertification. This decision could impact many apps in development.