Trending News Today: Hemophilia Drug Costs Strain Medicaid

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

Yesterday, the Trump administration approved a plan to implement work requirements for individuals enrolled in Arkansas’ expanded Medicaid program, The New York Times reported. Arkansas currently uses Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for its 285,000 enrollees, some of whom will now have to work or volunteer to qualify for coverage. The administration previously approved similar work requirement proposals in Kentucky and Indiana, according to the Times.

A coalition of physicians, patients, and public health experts emerged yesterday to oppose a recent proposal from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that would restrict Medicare patients to 90-mg of morphine per day or an equivalent of another drug, STAT reported. Hundreds of comments have been submitted to CMS opposing the proposal, in addition to letters and social media posts. Opponents of the proposed rule, which would affect 1.6 million Medicare patients, say it quantifies health outcomes through prescription levels rather than more effective measures, according to the article.

Hemophilia treatments are among the costliest drugs in the United States, with a single, Medicaid-insured Californian’s therapy costing $21 million per year, according to California Healthline. Although state officials are doing what they can to address the high costs of treating hemophilia, the complex and secretive nature of pricing complicates the matter, according to the article. Patients with hemophilia require lifelong treatment with high-dose blood factor. Approximately one-third of all patients with hemophilia are insured through Medicaid and the drugs account for a significant portion of spending, according to the article.