Trending News Today: Legislation Targets Manufacturer Drug Coupons

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Jim Wood (D-CA), chairman of the Assembly Health Committee, introduced a new bill that would prohibit manufacturers from providing coupons for certain drugs when a cheaper equivalent is available. Wood believes that the discounts are used to steer patients towards a costlier drug, and can increase premiums, according to California Healthline. This practice also has the potential to increase out-of-pocket costs for patients, since many times coupons cannot be used with insurance, and the costs cannot be applied to a deductible.

Only 9.2 million individuals signed up for coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces this year, which is approximately 4% less compared with the previous year, according to The New York Times. It is likely that many individuals strayed away from the marketplaces due to the ACA’s uncertain future under President Donald Trump, and many insurers are no longer selling plans. Prior to President Barack Obama leaving office, enrollment in these health plans was outpacing the previous year.

In an interview yesterday, Trump said that the ACA replacement plan may not be fully completed until the end of 2017 or in 2018. Trump said that replacing the law is complicated, but he’s confident that lawmakers will be able to create a replacement plan that will improve healthcare. While Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has promised to repeal the law by March, other Republicans worry about the political backlash that comes with repealing the ACA without a replacement plan, The New York Times reported.

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