Good morning … The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants to make sure everyone knows what to do in the event of a nuclear blast. So that's comforting.
The Trump administration's new rules for association health plans will likely erode some of the Affordable Care Act's enrollment, but may not be as destructive as some critics had initially feared.
The details: The new regulations would allow small businesses and sole proprietors to band together and obtain health insurance as a group — either by contracting with an insurance company, or paying members' claims out of their own pocket.
Practical considerations could limit the plans' reach. These policies need to actually exist for people to flock to them, and setting them up is not the easiest task. For example, while some critics have decried a "race to the bottom" that could stem from allowing association membership to cross state lines, it's almost impossible to set up a network of providers outside a fixed geographic region.
Fraud could be a problem.
The bottom line: The bigger threat to the ACA will probably come from a separate part of President Trump's executive order on health care — allowing individuals to keep relatively bare-bones, short-term health plans for a full year.
Republicans will meet with Trump this weekend to hammer out an agenda for this year. Some want to take another crack at health care; some want to try for a vaguely defined stab at "entitlement reform." As my colleague Caitlin Owens notes, either one would seem to put Medicaid back on the chopping block.
What we're hearing:
Go deeper: Read Caitlin's story in the Axios stream.
The FDA has rejected a third petition from pharmaceutical giant Allergan to delay the entry of a generic version of Allergan's major dry eye drug Restasis, my colleague Bob Herman reports (and h/t to Zach Brennan of the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society, who first caught this).
Why it matters: It's another setback for Allergan. The company, which is slashing 1,000 jobs, is trying everything to hold onto its lucrative Restasis business. A federal judge ruled last fall that those patents are invalid, right after Allergan controversially transferred those patents to a Native American tribe.
An interesting twist: Before the FDA made its decision this week, Mylan — the EpiPen maker that is developing a Restasis copy — wrote in FDA comments that Allergan has unleashed "a serial citizen petition campaign...to prevent generic competition" and "a redundant, unconvincing attack."
Flashback: Keep in mind, that argument is coming from a company that was raked over the coals for jacking up the price of its signature drug product.
The public doesn't see the same urgency to combating the opioid epidemic as the public-health community does, according to survey results compiled in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study examined data from seven national polls conducted in 2016 and 2017.
By the numbers:
Yes, but: 49% of people said they know someone who has been addicted to prescription painkillers. That's a lot.
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