Trending News Today: House Approves Defense Bill that Expedites Military Drug Approvals

Top news of the day from across the healthcare landscape.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reported that enrollment in Affordable Care Act (ACA) health plans for 2018 are more than 45% higher than last year’s sign ups, according to ABC News. Through November 11, 2017, nearly 1.5 million Americans signed up for coverage on HealthCare.gov, compared with 1 million last year. The CMS found that approximately 23% of 2018 enrollees are new to the marketplace. However, the actual number of signups is likely higher since many states run their own marketplaces, according to the article.

Experts said that the addition of the ACA individual mandate repeal to tax reform efforts may result in uncertainty for insurers, which could lead to higher premiums and lower participation, according to The Hill. If the mandate is repealed, it may encourage healthy individuals to drop out of coverage. Healthy enrollees play an important role in offsetting costs for sicker Americans. While this action would likely not crash the market and customers may be protected by subsidies, premiums would rise and Americans would have fewer choices of health plans, according to the article.

Yesterday, the House passed a bill that would expedite the FDA approval of medical devices and drugs to be used by the military, The Hill reported. The bill aims to revise a Department of Defense bill that allows the Pentagon to sign off on unapproved products to be used, according to the article. Advocates of the bill have expressed frustration over the FDA’s slow approval of treatments that may be important for combat, including freeze-dried plasma. Under the bill, the FDA can approve the use of unapproved treatments in emergency situations, according to the article.