Trending News Today: Orphan Drug Cost Impact May be Overblown

Top news of the day from across the healthcare landscape.

The lack of Medicaid expansion in rural America may be preventing more patients from being able to access adequate medical care. Hospitals in rural areas argue that not expanding Medicaid leads to an increasing number of patients without health insurance, and financially strains the institution. While Medicaid expansion does not seem to affect city-based hospitals, rural hospitals were more likely to turn a profit in Medicaid expansion states, according to Kaiser Health News.

Concerns that increased spending on orphan drugs for rare diseases are causing prescription drug costs to rise may not be based in fact. A recent study found that while orphan drugs may cost up to $300,000 per year, they have not been largely contributing to high drug costs. The cost of orphan drugs only made up 1% of healthcare spending in 2013, and 8.9% of total pharmaceutical spending, according to Kaiser Health News.

Residents of Pinal County, Arizona will now have the option of purchasing plans on the Affordable Care Act exchange for 2017, The Wall Street Journal reported. After Aetna announced its withdrawal from the exchanges, this county, among others, was left with no options for coverage for the coming year. However, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona announced they will offer plans for the county, resolving a major issue.