Good morning ... Robert Redfield is now officially on the job as the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Most state governments probably won't be able to pass their own bills to help stabilize the Affordable Care Act marketplaces — or at least not in time to help stave off the next big round of premium increases. And those markets could become even shakier before insurers have to file their rates.
Yes, but: Federal regulators also said they won’t dictate that short-term plans must be renewable, per Inside Health Policy. It’s debatable how much of a difference that will ultimately make, but it should bring at least some small measure of comfort to ACA supporters.
Miami residents talk about their options under the ACA. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
We talk a lot about the trade-offs involved in health policy. Bloomberg launched an ambitious project yesterday to see what those trade-offs look like in real life: It’s following 12 families who've decided the cost of health insurance simply isn’t worth it.
The gritty details, via Bloomberg: “Every single decision that you make has to be very carefully calculated so that your finances don’t fall apart,” said one mother, whose family is a microcosm of all the competing priorities the debate over the ACA has brought to light.
Sen. Lamar Alexander released a bill yesterday that would allow the Food and Drug Administration to require drugmakers to package opioids in blister packs with only a certain number of pills. Support for the idea is bipartisan.
Why it matters: Opioid prescriptions are often unnecessarily large — for example, 30 pills for a wisdom tooth extraction. Extra pills then often sit around in medicine cabinets. This legislation aims to more accurately match the prescription to the pain it's treating, while keeping the extra pills from being abused, stolen or sold.
Axios' Bob Herman recently combed through the latest federal health care lobbying filings and found a few worthy of your attention:
STAT has an interesting profile of John and Laura Arnold, the billionaire couple with a leading role in the advocacy fight over drug prices. John Arnold made his fortune first as an energy trader at Enron, then at a hedge fund. And now the couple is pouring tens of millions of dollars into a campaign for lower drug prices.
How it works, per STAT:
Why it matters: The uproar over drug prices has mostly come from individuals and individual politicians. It’s not especially organized, and it’s up against one of the wealthiest, most effective industry lobbies in Washington.
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