Good morning … March is the worst month of the year. It’s long, there are no holidays (except St. Patrick’s Day, which is awful), and as much as we think of March as a part of spring, it always brings a last gasp of winter. So anyway, welcome to March.
Cost is the No. 1 health care issue on voters’ minds in this election year. The latest Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll finds that a plurality of all voters — 22% — rank costs as the health care issue they most want to hear candidates address in the midterms.
Between the lines: This is one of the only questions in the entire poll that unites Republicans and Democrats.
The drug industry has recently extolled the slow growth in the net prices of medications. But a new analysis from GoodRx reminds us that list prices are still going up a lot — and those prices matter for people who are uninsured, face high deductibles or pay coinsurance rates based on a drug’s list price.
The numbers that matter: The increase in cash prices over the past 12 months, per GoodRx:
Key quote, about diabetes drug prices in particular: “If prices continue to increase at this rate, we could be seeing more people unable to care for their illness.”
Well, there’s at least one constituency that’s focused on the future of ACA coverage: the people who have it. A new survey this morning from The Commonwealth Fund, a liberal think tank, finds that 36% of people covered through the exchanges, and 27% of people covered through the Medicaid expansion, are afraid their coverage won’t be there in the long run.
Key point: Cost is still a huge barrier to coverage, even in a heavily subsidized market:
Yes, the latest lawsuit over the ACA seems on its face like a long shot, not the kind of thing the Supreme Court would ultimately smile upon.
Yes, but: It was filed in Texas. It’s seeking the same type of nationwide injunction district courts handed down for President Obama’s immigration policies as well as President Trump’s travel ban. And the initial decision would be appealed to the very conservative 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
So, could it do some damage in the short term, even if it’s on its way to an eventual loss?
What we’re hearing: I put that question to Jonathan Adler, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University who helped spearhead the King v. Burwell challenge to the ACA. He is … not impressed by this suit.
The problems are myriad:
The bottom line: “I think it's clever but I think it's too clever,” Adler tells me.
What we’re watching today: Both the White House and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce hold events on opioids.