Trending News Today: Fate of Healthcare Stabilization Uncertain

Top news from across the healthcare landscape.

Despite attempts to cut Medicaid funding, 26 states opted to expand or enhance benefits for beneficiaries in 2017, while only 6 states reduced benefits, according to Kaiser Health News. A majority of states increased benefits for mental health services, substance use treatment, dental care, and telemedicine services. An additional 17 states have plans to expand Medicaid benefits in 2018, according to the article.

The success of a short-term bill to stabilize the individual insurance marketplace is uncertain due to conflicting opinions from President Donald Trump, according to ABC News. The bill, introduced by Sens Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA), aims to reinstate subsidies and take other actions to stabilize the insurance market. Conservatives—including House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI)—have issued negative opinions of the bill since it does not repeal the Affordable Care Act, which means it may not be brought to the floor, according to the article.

Yesterday, the FDA approved the second gene therapy, which reboots immune cells to kill cancer. Axicabtagene ciloleucel (Yescarta) was approved to treat adults with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma who have received 2 previous treatments with chemotherapy, according to The New York Times. This gene therapy will be infused once and costs $373,000; however, the drug comes with serious side effects, including fevers, low blood pressure, lung congestion, and neurological problems, according to the study.