Trending News Today: Coverage for Mental Health, Substance Abuse at Risk in ACA Repeal

Top news of the day from across the healthcare landscape.

GOP lawmakers are currently divided about whether or not to repeal taxes imposed by former President Barack Obama to fund the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the federal government would lose more than $1.1 trillion over the next 10 years if they repealed the taxes on wealthy Americans. While conservative Republicans support a full repeal of the ACA, including associated taxes, others argue that the revenue generated from those taxes would be useful for creating a replacement health law, according to The New York Times.

Last week, the FDA approved the corticosteroid deflazacort to treat patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. In the United States, the newly approved drug will cost $89,000 per year, whereas the drug is sold in other countries for $1200, The Washington Post reported. Deflazacort has been long available as a generic in other countries; however, in the United States, Marathon Pharmaceuticals has 7 years of market exclusivity due to the drug’s orphan drug designation, which may drive up costs.

If the ACA is repealed, many Americans are likely to lose mental health and substance use disorder treatments, which the health law labeled as essential benefits, according to The New York Times. Under the ACA, health plans are required to cover essential benefits, and has greatly expanded access to these treatments. As the opioid epidemic continues to claim lives, treating and rehabilitating individuals with substance use disorders has become critical to prevent overdose-related deaths.

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