Stories by Sam Baker

Blue states dig in on the ACA

A photo of a screen showing that healthcare.gov has a lot of visitors
Photo: Karen Bleier/AFP via Getty Images

New Jersey leads the nation in so many important things: rest stops named for historical figures, willingness to wear track suits in public — and now, reconstituting the Affordable Care Act under President Trump.

No state has moved faster or more aggressively to shore up its ACA markets than Jersey. Yesterday, the Trump administration approved the state's proposal for a new, five-year reinsurance program — essentially a subsidy that helps insurers pay for their most expensive customers, so they don't have to pass those costs on through higher premiums.

FDA approves generic EpiPen

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first-ever generic version of the Epi-Pen, after the brand-name product saw price hikes of roughly 600% over the past decade.

Why it matters: FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has been vocal about bolstering generics as a way to lower patients' costs. The FDA approved a record number of generic drugs last month, and Gottlieb said the agency is "especially committed" to generic versions of products — like the EpiPen — that have been insulated from competition because they're complex and difficult to copy.

Trump wants Sessions to bring new opioids lawsuit

Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

President Trump urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions today to bring a new lawsuit against opioid suppliers, and to crack down on the flow of opioids into the U.S. from Mexico and China.

Where it stands: The Justice Department has already lent its support to a massive lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies and distributors. That case is modeled after the landmark tobacco litigation of the 1990s. It pulls together hundreds of complaints from state and local governments and could end up costing the drug industry hundreds of billions of dollars, most likely through a settlement.