December 2016 national news

The future of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Medicaid hang in the balance

Congressional leaders have confirmed that they will use the budget reconciliation process to repeal the Affordable Care Act in January, and that they will give themselves more time (perhaps two more years) to come up with a replacement plan. They are also pledging privatization and cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. For more on how all of this could play out and what plans Republicans can be expected to push, read NESRI’s review of the coming attacks on healthcare.

Under enormous lobbying, Congress passes 21st Century Cures Act to deregulate drug and device approval

In its final days in session, Congress passed a major healthcare bill that will reshape federal regulations of drugs and medical devices for years to come. The bill, the 21st Century Cures Act, was the culmination of two decades of work by drug companies and conservative think tanks and one of the most-lobbied for pieces of legislation in years: at least 1,455 lobbyists from companies, universities and other organizations lobbied Congress on the bill, spending some $200 million to get it passed.

Though the bill’s backers are touting it’s passage with a large bipartisan majority, the bill will allow drug corporations to make enormous profits by rushing medicines and medical devices to the market before they are adequately tested for safety, putting people’s lives at risk in order to open up enormous profit opportunities for corporations. Read the full story in a fantastic article by Trudy Lieberman at Health News Review.

Tom Price tapped to head HHS

President-Elect Donald Trump has chosen Georgia Congressman Tom Price as his nominee for the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Price is known as a fierce opponent of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). He introduced H.R. 2300 to dismantle the ACA last year. Though it was vetoed by President Obama, under President Trump the bill will serve as a blueprint for the coming repeal. Price is a proponent of slashing funding for Medicare, Medicaid, and other social protection programs by granting tax cuts to the wealthy.

Posted in National.