Saturday, April 28, 2018

Health Care News Update: GOP targets Opioid solution - Medicaid. Boomer Pot Heads! Big Pharm Profiting off Poor!!!

Note: Since I get health care email updates, I'm not able to provide some of the connecting links to the following stories.

GOP hates Medicaid, can't Solve Opioid Epidemic: The overriding problem with their purely ideologically driven one-size-fits-all policies is that they end up getting in the way of solving other problems. The opioid epidemic consuming rural Republican districts hit an unexpected wall; Medicaid. Destroying it will only put more people on Medicaid, and they won't let that happen.

This tweet highlighting AG Brad Schimel utter partisan misuse of his office proves how empty the GOP's war on opioid addiction is. In fact, I think the GOP war on opioids is a misdirection play, a way to ignore real health care reform:

Since Republicans are hell-bent on destroying Medicaid, they own this problem:
As The Health 202 wrote in March, the most efficient way to tackle opioid abuse is probably through the Medicaid program, since it covers four in 10 non-elderly adults with opioid addiction.
It's another GOP created problem that will consume time, energy, and lots of money because the obvious solution has been targeted for destruction. And their slow acceptance of marijuana will put off lower opioid use seen in states that have legalized pot. 


60's Freaks are the Marijuana Baby Boom Users: Interesting but obvious conclusion:
New research shows the surge in marijuana use is driven not by young people but by the gray-haired and balding set, The Post's Keith Humphreys reports. Only two age groups showed a significant rise in use ... Compared with older Americans 30 years ago, Americans age 50 to 59 and 60 and older today are a remarkable 20 times more likely to use marijuana.

A ghoulish Profit-from-the-Poor Driven Drug Industry: The crucial thing to keep in mind below is how Medicaid discounts on drug prices could push health care prices down for patients with rare life-threatening diseases: 
"...reimbursements to drug firms are typically less generous than with private insurance because Medi-Cal is entitled by law to deep discounts."
Big Pharma knows how to game the system, keeping drug prices high at the expense of the public:
Olive-McCoy, 44, has hereditary angioedema (HAE), a life-threatening disease so rare that many doctors have only read about it. Fortunately, there are cutting-edge drugs to keep the swelling at bay and treat the attacks that breakthrough. Olive-McCoy couldn’t afford or qualify for health insurance. But once she was put on a newly approved rare-disease drug, she entered a pocket of the health-care system that drug companies use to ensure that rare-disease patients can afford their expensive medicine.

Pharmaceutical companies donate to independent charities that cover drug co-pays and, in some cases, health insurance premiums. Olive-McCoy could turn to Medi-Cal, her state’s health plan for the poor. But health experts said that Medi-Cal would not automatically cover her specialists and that, crucially, reimbursements to drug firms are typically less generous than with private insurance because Medi-Cal is entitled by law to deep discounts...shield drug companies from the pressure to lower their prices.

Funding charities that ensure patients get their drugs can quickly pay off. A Citi Research report found that a pharmaceutical company’s $1 million donation to a charity for patients with rare diseases can generate up to a $21 million return in drug reimbursements.

“People who are eligible for public programs (eg. Medicare and Medicaid), which may offer additional benefits and services, should not be inappropriately steered into the commercial insurance market to generate greater reimbursement,” Kristine Grow, a spokeswoman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, wrote in an email. The system of third-party payments, she added, “skews the risk pool and imposes higher costs for all consumers.”

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