Trending News Today: Latest Version of ACA Replacement Bill Rejected in Senate

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

Celgene agreed to pay millions to settle a fraud suit that claimed the manufacturer marketed the cancer drugs Thalomid and Revlimid for unapproved uses, according to The New York Times. Under the agreement, Celgene will pay the United States nearly $260 million and an additional $20.7 million to 28 states and the District of Columbia. Attorney Reuben A. Guttman, who represented former sales representative and whistleblower, Beverely Brown, said that although the settlement is the latest in multimillion dollar fines pharmaceutical companies have had to pay, this case is one of the largest settlements to involve a cancer drug. In a statement Tuesday, Celgene spokesman Brian Gill, said that the manufacturer denied any wrongdoing and that it was only settling “to avoid uncertainty, distraction, and expense of protracted litigation.”

As the fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) lies in limbo, insurer Centene Corp is urging the federal government to preserve cost-sharing payments for low-income customers to avoid negatively impacting millions of individuals, according to The New York Times. Michael Neidorff, chairman and CEO of Centene, expressed concerns about nixing cost-sharing reduction payments that help ease expenses for low income individuals. “Any intentional act to stop these … payments does not advance the debate of how to fix our health care delivery system,” Neidorff told the NY Times. “It only hurts the millions of Americans who currently have affordable health care insurance in the marketplace.” Centene has not revealed what it will do if the cost-sharing reduction payments end, but other insurers have said premiums will soar in numerous markets.

Last night, the Senate rejected the latest version of the GOP plan to repeal and replace the ACA, the New York Times reported. The compromise measure included provisions aimed to appeal to both moderate and conservative Republicans. After weeks of refining the legislation, however, the measure only won 43 votes. According to the NY Times, the measure’s failure was inevitable, because 60 votes were needed and Republicans only have 52 seats. Today, senators are set to consider a different measure that would repeal the ACA, but would not have a replacement. Some Republicans are concerned that repealing the health care law without a replacement would leave many Americans without coverage, according to the NY Times.