Trending News Today: Government May Assign Health Plans to Avoid Coverage Gaps

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

On Friday, Mylan announced that it had reached a $465 million settlement with the Justice Department and other agencies for overcharging Medicaid for the EpiPen by incorrectly classifying it as a generic drug. According to The New York Times, the government stated that Mylan had been told numerous times of its improper classification of the EpiPen. In a statement, the company reiterated that the settlement was not implying an admission of guilt or wrongdoing. Furthermore, the settlement has not been finalized, and it’s expected to enter into a corporate integrity agreement with the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services.

Nearly 100 national health and medical groups have been sponsored by Coca-Cola or PepsiCo, reported The Washington Post. The study was conducted by 2 Boston University researchers who had identified 96 sponsorships from 2011 to 2015 from “Big Soda” to health organizations, which they defined as any group or program involved in the public’s health. Furthermore, during the same time period, researchers discovered 29 proposed public health bills or regulations that 1 or both of the companies lobbied against, all with the goal to reduce soda consumption. Surprisingly, the ADA and JDRF were included in the list, despite the established link between diabetes and soda consumption. Study co-author, Cristin Kearns, stated that the findings help make a strong argument for how influential these groups. Furthermore she compared it to the tobacco industry, which for years funded public health organizations to protect its products from health scrutiny. “We just haven’t learned our lesson for why these industries fund these organizations,” Kearns said.

Under a new policy, the federal government will select health plans for hundreds of thousands of consumers whose have left the Affordable Care Act marketplace, unless those people opt out of the law’s exchanges or select plans on their own, reported The New York Times. The Obama administration states that by assigning consumers to alternate plans, it will protect them from coverage lapses. It also notes that consumers can chose another plan if they don’t like the one that was chosen for them, however, the alternatives may be limited