Welcome to What We’re Reading — our new feature at CT Health Notes. We’ll include links to background, updates and just entertaining pieces we found helpful this week. What We’re Reading is part of Advocate to Advocate, the CT Health Policy Project’s mission to expand policy capacity in our state’s advocacy community. More on that coming soon.
On Monday, the US Dept. of Justice joined Republican Attorneys General in calling for federal courts to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act. In December, a federal District Court Judge in Texas ruled that the ACA was invalid because Congress removed the individual mandate penalty, invalidating the entire law. Read CT New Junkie’s analysis of what could happen here if higher Courts agree, what CT has done to protect people, and where the gaps are.
In the Atlantic, Zeke Emanuel rebuts the common drug company excuse for rising drug prices – that the extreme prices are necessary to continue funding research to find new drugs. He details what it really spent on research and development compared to profits and sales/marketing. It’s great background reading with lots of links to sources and a great example of the hard work involved in drilling down on suspect claims.
Barth Keck weighs in on the contentious and emotional health bills in Hartford this year – HB 7005 that very gently touches on vaccine exemptions. Barth plows through the debate and why two scientists declined to participate in a panel at the Capital, seeing no opportunity to speak to open minds. The science is clear – vaccines save lives and there is no evidence of a link to autism. How many studies will be enough?
Tuesday House Democrats in DC released their proposal to protect the ACA. The proposal includes increased subsidies to make coverage more affordable for more people, creates a national reinsurance program, and reverse the administration’s efforts to undermine the law. Note that CT’s uninsured rate increased in 2017 for the first time in four years, but only among households with incomes over $100,000. The proposal would extend subsidies to more Americans. The proposal does not include Medicare-For-All or other big proposals to expand coverage that have been proposed by members. In this article, Vox explains what is in the House proposal and what isn’t.